Facilities involved with the production of foodstuffs are usually required to use on equipment gaskets and seals that comply with FDA (or similar) requirements for non-toxicity and chemical compatibility. In this blog we highlight the sealing materials which meet requirements issued by the FDA or other bodies, and which should be used to manufacture gaskets and seals for food grade applications.
What makes a gasket material FDA-grade?
The US FDA (and similar regulatory bodies in other jurisdictions) has strict standards and requirements in place for the types of materials that can come into contact with food and other consumables. This means that the materials used to make food grade gasket and seals must be made from ingredients officially approved by the FDA and listed on its so-called “white list” (Part 177: Indirect Food Additives: Polymers). Food grade gaskets and seals must satisfy the following demands:
- Support the processing and production of foodstuffs, meats, beverages, dairy products, or food-compliant chemicals.
- Be odourless, tasteless, and possess a resistance to the buildup of bacteria.
- Support a wide range of service temperatures, pressures, and media.
- Be non-toxic, non-marking, and manufactured from non-allergenic materials.
What FDA-grade materials are used to make food grade gaskets and seals?
The following FDA-grade rubber compounds are used by CRG to fabricate food grade gaskets and seals:
- Perfluoroelastomer (Kalrez®). Kalrez® is a DuPont perfluoroelastomer (FFKM). Gaskets and seals from Kalrez® resist over 1,800 different chemicals, while offering the high temperature service (327°C) and stability of PTFE. Kalrez® gaskets and seals provide low outgassing in vacuum-sealing applications. FDA-compliant seals are also available for food applications.
- CRG supplies gaskets cut from fluorosilicone-formulated kSil™ and NeutraSil™ sheet. kSil™ silicone sheet is FDA approved and food manufacturers can be confident that gaskets fabricated from kSil™ are safe should they come into contact with the product stream during processing. In addition to kSil™ sheet, CRG also fabricates silicone gaskets from neutraSil™ sheet. NeutraSil™ is an antimicrobial silicone rubber that has been independently proven to prevent the growth of E-Coli, MRSA and Salmonella bacteria. The antimicrobial qualities of neutraSil™ make it highly suited to end-use applications in food and beverage production.
- PTFE gaskets and seals are often used in food mixers, pumps, valves, and flanged joints in piping and transfer equipment. These gaskets combine excellent dielectric properties with a very low coefficient of friction and an ability to service a wide range of operating temperatures, from -240°C (-400°F) to 260°C (500°F). A key advantage of PTFE gasket material is that is among the most chemically resistant materials known. The ability to resist chemical attack makes FDA-grade PTFE compound a material of choice for many sealing applications in the food industry.
- EPDM and Nitrile (NBR). CRG uses these FDA-grade materials to produce gaskets which service many standard food grade and pharmaceutical applications.
In addition to the above FDA-grade materials, CRG also supplies gaskets and seals made from EPDM certified to the NSF/ANSI 61 standard. These gaskets support potable water applications where the use of high purity, non-toxic gaskets is required.
If you are seeking food grade gaskets and seals fabricated from materials compliant to the requirements of the US FDA or other regulatory bodies, CRG can help. Our sales specialists will be pleased to review your needs and guide the selection of the preferred material for your application. To find out more about our food grade sealing solutions, please contact our sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org.