The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strict requirements for products used in food applications. For seals and sealing devices, the FDA limits the chemical composition of rubber compounds to approved chemicals. FDA 21 CFR 1177.2600 lists approved chemicals for rubber compounds, which helps provide compounds that are odorless, tasteless and safe for food contact. These materials must also be able to withstand the harsh environments of food applications, including extreme temperatures, chemicals, steam, and other conditions.
There are many sealing materials that meet FDA regulations and are determined safe for the food industry. FDA grade materials are selected for their durability, chemical compatibility and resistance properties. Here’s a closer look at the best FDA-approved o-rings.
Silicone is popular in food and drug applications because it does not produce any odor or taste. Silicone can also be effectively sterilized in a cleanroom environment, making it a safe choice for the food industry. When it comes to extreme temperatures in food applications, silicone is trusted to remain durable with working temperatures of standard compounds ranging from -85° to +400°F.
Nitrile, also known as Buna-N, is an FDA grade material because of it’s excellent abrasion resistance and high tensile strength. Nitrile o-rings are well-suited for oil or fatty contact, as well as harsh environments and are trusted to stay intact over long periods of time. Standard nitrile compounds can also withstand extreme temperatures with standard compounds ranging from -40° to +257°F.
Ethylene-propylene, or EPDM, is made from odorless and tasteless compounds that can withstand temperatures ranging from -40° to +275°F. When compounded using peroxide curing agents, EPDM offers high temperature resistance reaching +350°F. EPDM is known for its excellent chemical resistance, making it a smart choice for steam processing food grade applications.
Fluorocarbon, also known as Viton®, is an ideal compound for a universal o-ring material. Fluorocarbon is known for its high temperature resistance, chemical resistance, and improved resistance to steam with selective grades. Fluorocarbon o-rings do not absorb water, allowing them to seal effectively without excessive swell. These features make fluorocarbon an excellent choice for FDA grade applications.
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