UNITED STATES—All of the materials used in the food industry have to meet certain FDA standards. It’s one reason silicone is so widely used in the food safety arena. Let’s take a look at the different grades of silicone seals, and how they can help you remain compliant and contribute to better food safety standards, as well as its uses in other industries.
Food-Grade Silicone Seals
Silicone seals are non-toxic and odorless, contain no BPA, lead, latex, or phthalates, making them a safer option for our bodies and the environment. Food-grade silicone also has other benefits, such as:
- Resistance to cracking, rotting, hardening, drying out, peeling, crumbling, or becoming brittle over time
- Resistance to degradation and damage caused by extreme temperatures
- Easy to transport thanks to its lightweight nature (also saves space)
- Made from a natural resource
- Can be easily recycled at certain locations
Silicone is also considered non-hazardous waste, which is why it’s great for use in the food industry. Food-grade silicone is used to create food storage containers that are safe for dishwashers, freezers, and microwaves, as well as to make cookware like pots and pans.
Silicone Uses in Other Industries
Medical-Grade Silicone Seals
Medical-grade silicone is made of sand (or silica), and is designed to interact safely within the human body. Medical-grade silicone seals like o-rings are used in many products, including dental retainers, medical tubing, gel sheets for scar therapy, respiratory masks, implants, and in catheters, pacemakers, and artificial joints. It’s also used in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.
Automotive-Grade Silicone Seals
Silicone seals are also used in the automotive industry for sealants, heat exchangers, connectors, water-pump gaskets, valve covers, radiators, spark plug tires, gaskets, and engine covers. Automotive-grade silicone seals have excellent resistance to heat and chemicals, as well as great electrical insulation. They’re designed to resist extreme weather and tearing.
Household & Sporting Products
Silicone is used in household products like shampoos and soaps, thermal insulation, lubricants, and electrical insulation. It’s also used for reusable straws, yoga mats, Airpod cases, toe stretchers, reusable baking cups, reusable sandwich bags, makeup sponges and brushes, cleaning gloves, and unbreakable wine glasses. Silicone seals are also used in exercise and sporting products like swimming goggles, mouthpieces for athletes, snorkels, and bands.
Making Sure Your Food-Grade Silicone Meets FDA Compliance
If you’re going to be manufacturing products in the food industry, making sure they’re manufactured with the highest grade and quality of silicone is important. If you don’t follow compliance, you could end up getting yourself or someone else seriously injured. That’s why it’s crucial that you understand and abide by these rules and make sure the silicone seals you’re using are the appropriate type for your industry.
Using the right silicon seals and o-rings is of utmost importance to ensure that your products are manufactured with safety in mind. That means getting silicone seals that can withstand high temperatures and keep diners safe.