In the food and beverage industry, food-grade sealing hardware is crucial for safe, efficient operations that meet the stringent standards of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Arizona Sealing Devices is a leading distributor of superior-quality sealing solutions for customers worldwide. With more than 30 years in the sealing industry, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional-quality products that meet and exceed ISO 9001:2015, AS9120B, and FDA requirements.
What Makes an O-Ring Food Grade?
Food-grade O-rings and gaskets are manufactured based on strict requirements established by the FDA. For food-safe O-rings to be FDA approved for use in food products, they must be able to withstand the rigors of equipment operation while maintaining a safe seal. The most popular food-grade O-ring materials include:
- EPDM: A durable and flexible polymer that is extremely cost-efficient, EPDM is the most popular food-grade O-ring material. It maintains its structural integrity at a wide range of temperatures, and is resistant to lipids and phosphate esters.
- Nitrile Rubber: Nitrile rubber is highly flexible and impact resistant. It maintains its flexibility in the presence of extreme temperature fluctuations and has an exceptionally long service life.
- Fluorocarbon: Fluorocarbon is a high performance material that maintains integrity in the presence of extremely hot liquids and steam.
- Neoprene: Neoprene is extremely resistant to ozone and oils, with an exceedingly long service life.
- Silicone: Engineered with outstanding stability when exposed to extreme temperatures and corrosive chemicals, silicone o-rings provide outstanding performance in food-grade applications.
Other FDA-Compliant O-Ring Requirements
FDA requirements extend beyond the materials used in O-rings and gaskets. The FDA has also established rigorous guidelines when it comes to the way that particular foods must be handled and formulated. Dry foods, liquids, and fatty foods each have different requirements. For O-rings, these food-safe requirements include:
- Dry Foods: Must meet material formulation and curation requirements to ensure durability and reliability in extreme manufacturing conditions with repeated use, consistent with industry good practices.
- Liquids: O-rings used for liquid materials in food, beverage, cosmetic, medical, and pharmaceutical applications are required to meet extraction criteria not to exceed 20mg per square inch in distilled water.
- Fatty Foods: Fatty foods are required to meet additional requirements, including extraction not to exceed 175mg per square inch in n-Hexane.
What Makes a Gasket Material Food Grade?
The value of food-grade gaskets and seals is their ability to withstand processing conditions for products made for direct human consumption. The FDA has established that food-grade gaskets must be used for food products such as dairy products, meat, beverages, and foodstuffs, as well as chemicals used in food processing.
- Durability: Gaskets, seals, and O-rings used in these applications must be able to operate reliably in a wide range of operating temperatures and pressures.
- Resistance: Food-grade gaskets and O-rings must also be resistant to food-compliant chemicals, oils, and lipids, and must be able to withstand impact, vibration, abrasion, and wear as needed.
- Odorless: Per the FDA, gaskets used in the food and beverage industry must be odorless and tasteless.
- Antimicrobial: Gaskets and O-rings used in food-grade applications must be resistant to microbial growth, including mold, mildew, and bacteria.
- Non-Toxic and Hypoallergenic: Food grade gaskets must be made from non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and non-marking materials.
What FDA-Grade Materials Are Used to Make Food-Grade Gaskets & Seals?
Arizona Sealing Devices sources a variety of sealing solutions for our customers in the food and beverage industry. Our most popular FDA-grade O-ring, gasket, and seal materials include:
- Perfluoroelastomer (Kalrez®): With outstanding chemical resistance, Kalrez can withstand more than 1,800 chemicals and temperatures up to 327°C. It exhibits exceptional stability with long-lasting seals that are ideal for food processing.
- PTFE: Valued for its exceptional chemical stability, PTFE is especially useful for seals and gaskets in food and beverage manufacturing.
- EPDM: EPDM is durable, low-cost, and resistant to lipids and other corrosive food-processing chemicals.
- Nitrile: Highly impact and temperature resistant, nitrile exhibits durability and a long life cycle ideal for use in food and beverage processing.
Dependable Food-Grade O-Rings and Gaskets by Arizona Sealing Devices, Inc.
At AZ Seal, we pride ourselves on providing cutting-edge sealing solutions to meet even the most stringent FDA standards. Our selection of food-grade o-rings, gaskets, and seals incorporates the latest materials technology for products that are exceptionally durable and resistant to harsh processing conditions.
We source our extensive selection of products from a pool of reliable, established manufacturers, including engineering experts, who provide custom manufacturing solutions. Our comprehensive selection of products includes FDA-approved, food-grade O-rings, food-grade silicone gaskets, and food-safe rubber gaskets.
To learn more about our selection of food-grade O-rings, gaskets, and other sealing solutions, contact us today or request a quote.