The Best FDA Approved Rubber Materials

Apr 17, 2019

If you’re looking to purchase components which are likely to come into contact with food, it’s essential to use FDA approved products. The FDA defines products requiring approval as:

“any substance that is intended for use as a component of materials used in manufacturing, packing, packaging, transporting, or holding food.”

By assuring FDA compliance, you can be confident that the materials are safe for direct food content. This means they will not contaminate food products or cause a danger to the end consumer of the food items.

In general, this means that they will:

  • Be odourless, tasteless and resistant to bacteria
  • Be safe to use with food, beverage, meat, milk and certain food compliant chemicals
  • Non-toxic, non-marking and non-allergenic

In addition to ensuring the product you choose is FDA approved, other attributes must be suitable for the application. This means ensuring that the material is safe to use:

  • Within the temperature you plan to work
  • Safe for the type of food it is in contact with (fats, acidity etc.)
  • Robust enough for the environment in which it will be used

There are many types of FDA approved elastomer and rubber products. We’ve chosen four of the best ones for use in the food industry to help you narrow down your choices.

  1. Fluorocarbon

Known more commonly by its trade name of Viton™, fluorocarbons or FKM are high performance FDA approved silicone materials. They cope well with high temperatures, are chemically resistance and do not absorb water. The scope of their working temperature ranges from -20°C to 204°C, although compounds can be made which function from -45°C to 250°C.

  1. Silicone

The low toxicity and low chemical reactivity makes FDA approved silicone one of the best choices for food grade rubber. Silicone O-rings and silicone rubbers of food grade standard have one of the broadest operating scope ranges out there, of -60°C to 300°C. FDA approved silicone will not contaminate food and is one of the best materials for cooking tools, insulation, sealants and lubricants.

  1. Nitrile (NBR)

As a highly economical material to purchase, nitrile is one of the most widely used elastomers for seals in the food processing industry. It has excellent resistance to oils and fuels and is robust and abrasion resistant. Standard compounds have an operating temperature range of -40°C to 140°C.

  1. EPDM

For EPDM food grade products offer excellent flexibility and robustness. The EPDM food grade compounds are tasteless and odourless and are suitable for a wide range of uses within their temperature range. Normal operating temperatures for this material fall within -40°C to 140°C, making it a popular choice for food processing applications.