Food grade lubricants are special products used in applications where contact with food or beverage related items could potentially take place. These products must perform all the duties of a regular lubricant while also meeting certain guidelines for food safety. There are three different classifications of food grade lubricants:
H1 Lubricants – Used in applications where contact with food could take place, such as food processing equipment. In general, the amount used should be the minimum possible to get the desired effect of the lubricant.
H2 Lubricants – Used in food industry applications where there is no possibility of making contact with food. These lubricants are used on machine parts and closed system that will never touch any edible product.
H3 Soluble Oils – Applied to equipment that will directly contact food, usually for the purpose of cleaning and preventing rust.
Since 1999, NSF International manages the registration and certification process for food grade lubricants. Food grade lubricants are blended with white oil base stocks and one of a limited number of approved thickeners.