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What You Need To Know About Food Processing Equipment Lubricants

Jun 10th 2015 at 5:35 AM

Food Grade Lubricants are lubricants acceptable for using in food processing applications, equipment and factories. Food-grade lubricants are categorized into different categories depending on their probabilities of getting into contact with food. The USDA formulated standard food –grade designations: H1, H2 and H3. The registration and approval of any new lubricant into any of these classes primarily lies in the ingredients used.

The selection of food processing equipment lubricants from the standard H1, H2, and H3 categories are important to the end users. This is because the NSF draft standard potentially assures users of compliance and regulation that manufacturers must adhere to. Therefore, consumers of food products are confident that their safety and health are strictly maintained by the lubricant manufacturers and the plants that produce food and drugs.


These are lubricants that have incidental contact. H1 products act as anti-rust film or lubricants on machine and equipment parts  located in areas where there is a possibility of the lubricated part getting into contact with the food products under manufacture. H1 lubricants can also act as seals of the tank closures or release agents on the gaskets. There are restrictions on the ingredients used for making H1 lubricants because of the possibility of them mixing with the food processed.


H2lubricants are Globally Harmonized System Lubricants that have no contact with food. H2 lubricants are usually used on parts of machines or equipment that have no contact with the edible products.H2 lubricants can be used as an anti-rust film, release agents or as lubricants on food processing equipment. NSF guidelines do not offer a specified list of ingredients that should be used for making these lubricants because they do not get into contact with the processed food. However, some ingredients cannot be accepted because of any possible toxicology or other factors.

3H -Release Agents

3H release agents are lubricating products used on chopping boards, loaf pans, boning benches, cutters, grills, and other hard surfaces that are in contact with poultry or food products. These release agents prevent the food products from adhering to the surface during the processing procedures. Products that contain edible oils like soybean oil, cottonseed oil, mineral oil, and corn oil can be used as long as they comply with the set standards.

H3 - Soluble oils

Soluble oils classified as H3 are intended for inhibiting rust on the trolleys, hooks, and other equipment. Cleaning of treated food processing equipment should be through wiping or washing before their use. Most H3 soluble oil products can consist of Mineral oil, GRAS substances and edible oils, for example soybean oil, corn oil or cotton seed oil.

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