The European Lubricating Grease Institute (ELGI) has announced the publication of an industry position paper on food-grade lubricants.
“This important paper has been created by the various stake holders in the industry that provide services to food manufacturing and processing, animal feed and pharmaceutical producers,” said Andre Adam, chairman of the Food Grade Lubricant Working Group of ELGI and commercial director of FRAGOL GmbH+Co.KG.
Over the past few years, he explained, “a number of events and incidents have attracted much attention in the press and by lawmakers and interest groups.” He said insufficient knowledge of the subject by all the parties involved led to the confusion that ensued.
He said ELGI has taken upon itself “to produce a document that clearly outlines the basic rules that come with the FDA lead system and that is widely accepted around the world including Asia, Africa and Europe.”
“As in other industries there are companies in the lubricant industry that use the confusion or lesser informed users to sell products that are not suitable. Whether this is due to lack of knowledge or finding sales arguments that are incorrect is difficult to determine. However as a responsible industry we must do our very best to inform all involved with food production about safety and responsible care,” Adam said.
Adam highlighted the three most common misleading marketing statements that can be found in the market.
- This lubricant is H2 and specially designed for the food industry. Almost any lubricant can be H2 and this is because it is not supposed to be in contact (also not incidental contact) with foodstuff. H2 should not be present in a food plant is the opinion of the European Hygiene Engineering and Design Group, a body that has all major food producers as its member.
- You can use 3H product as a replacement for H1 lubricant and you do not have to worry about the 10 parts per million (ppm) limit by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is clearly misleading because if the application is a lubricant then the category is H1. 3H is not for lubricant use but for a whole range of other well-defined applications and with very clear limitations of the amount of product allowed into the foodstuff.
- Our product is so clean you can eat it. This is a very bad statement because lubricants are not supposed to be present in food. The category H1 states it as “incidental food contact” and lubricants should never be seen as part of the food. We should never imply it is edible or fit for consumption.