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#1 mikelond

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 04:43 PM

I have been asked by our engineering 'guru' what implications the BRC/IOP standard will have on the use of engineering oils/lubricants. We produce direct food contact flexible packaging materials, and although ther eis no contact with the oils/lubes in normal production, it has been raised as an issue on several recent customer audits.
Does anyone have any information with regard to this please? :unsure: :unsure:


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#2 Simon

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 09:48 PM

Hi Mike,

I'm into direct food contact flexible materials also and this issue has cropped up for me in the past. For a start forget food grade oils they are expensive, not as effective and are really unnecessary - after all you want to prevent ALL oils/lubes from transferring to the packaging. If the customer has justifiable concerns i.e. there is excessive oils/lubes on machinery that could potentially get transferred to and contaminate product then they are bound to make a fuss.

However, if you are going for the BRC/IoP Standard - Category B this shouldn't be an issue as you must comply with:

5.4.2
Effective cleaning schedules shall be provided for all equipment.

5.4.6
A planned preventative maintenance programme for plant and machinery shall be in place and shall address the risks of contamination…

5.4.11
On completion of any maintenance work, machinery and equipment shall be clean and free from contamination hazards.

5.4.12
Maintenance work shall be followed by a documented hygiene clearance procedure, which records that contamination hazards have been removed and/or controlled from machinery and equipment where there is a risk of contamination to the product.

To sum up there's no problem with oils/lubes as long as machines are cleaned regularly and effectively, they are maintained so that they don't have raging oil leaks, and when the engineers do maintenance work they make sure they have not over oiled/lubed and clean up after themselves before handing the machine over to production.

In my experience it's not their 'use' it's their 'abuse' that's the problem - but don't tell the engineering 'guru'.

Simon :)


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#3 mikelond

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Posted 26 March 2003 - 08:01 AM

Thanks for your input Simon - we have the BRC/IOP level B already, but the question is being increasingly asked with regard to 'approved' grades of oils etc.
Your comments are very useful, and I will feed them into our HACCP team.
Mike


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#4 Sandy Maclure

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Posted 03 April 2003 - 08:01 AM

Hi,
I have at first to express a vested interest as we are manufacturers of food grade lubricants.
However there is a significant difference between food grade and industrial lubricants.

Synthetic food grade oils, greases and assembly pastes are more stable and last longer, therefore less is used.
Synthetic food grade compressor oils can last to 8000 hours, better than any mineral oil.
The oil can get carried through the machinery, so the less contaminating , the better.
Food grade lubricants contain no heavy metals or physiologically harmful ingredients.
Synthetic food grade lubricants are not expensive, either to purchase or in the increased wear- and corrosion protection of the plant and in the reduction in cost of maintenance and disposal of waste.
Many international OEM's of food, pharmaceutical and packaging equipment look to our Group to provide food grade lubricants and support in HACCP surveys.

In all cases, we agree that due diligence is required, and if there is excessive lubricant on the machinery, this is a training matter.
Our Group has a policy to use better lubricants in smaller amounts. This reduces the risk of contamination, but the risk is higher with industrial lubricants as they contain harmful constituents.
There have been well-publicised incidents of contamination in packaging and we all want to avoid harm.

Our Group has been instrumental in deriving the new Food Grade lubricants standard DIN 0010517 which is being adopted Internationally and by the NSF in certifying food grade lubricants, so we have good provenance.
In our experience, the best way is to train the 'engineering guru' and encourage Best Practice.


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#5 Simon

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Posted 03 April 2003 - 08:53 AM

Hi Sandy,

Thanks for your input. I bow to your superior knowledge of lubricants - my experience of food grade oils was some years ago and I know things move on fast.

If as you say food grade oils are as/more effective, efficient and cost-effective as oppose to industrial oils then there is no logical reason for not using them and this takes the heat out of the argument.

I still contend though that the critical issue is the identification and control of the causes of incidental oil contamination and their prevention through the intelligent use of oils, cleaning systems, preventative maintenance, training etc. This has to be the prime objective rather than saying it's not a crisis if a bit of oil gets on the packaging "its food approved!" - this absolves responsibility and is undesirable and I can hear the engineering guru claiming this defence now.

Believe me if we sent packaging to our customers contaminated with oils or lubricants, they wouldn't care whether it was food approved or not - in my opinion it's a quality risk more than a food safety one.

Ultimately this decision is for the Hazard Analysis/HACCP Team.

Got any free samples?

Regards,
Simon
:)


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Best Regards,

Simon Timperley
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hand-pointing-down.gif

Need food safety advice?
Relax, you've come to the right place…

The IFSQN is a helpful network of volunteers providing answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts on food safety management systems and a wide range of food safety topics.

 
We could make a huge list of rules, terms and conditions, but you probably wouldn’t read them.

All that we ask is that you observe the following:


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#6 rheath

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Posted 16 April 2003 - 09:51 AM

We have had an established secondary food packaging certification scheme for over 7 years, in this time we have learnt a great many lessons. None greater than a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. All too often we have a customer who will dictate that we apply the latest ‘best practice'.

The best lesson we have learned is to say no.

It is very liberating to realise that you can actually say no to a customer (If any sales directors are reading this, once you have regained consciousness, please read on so I can qualify this statement)

The beauty of having an established hygiene management system is that it is backed up by your HACCP system, complaints system, control plans, maintenance schedules etc etc.

In seven years we have not had a single complaint that involves oil contamination, this means that we have produced over 100 million units without a reported issue (my 6 sigma trainer would be proud!)

However, I will not turn away from an improvement opportunity without first giving it some consideration, after reading through this discussion I decided to investigate the cost of food grade oils in comparison with our existing supply. I must note that we only asked our existing oil supplier and they may wish to add a financial disincentive to food grade, however;

The upshot is that food grade oil costs are 5 - 10 times greater than our existing supply.

I appreciate that there may be some recovery from improved performance, having to use less oil etc but would doubt the benefit weighs out the cost.

If there are any suppliers that can offer a competitive pricing structure, I would be interested.


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#7 Charles Clayton

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 01:30 PM

Perhaps we can help you. 5 to 10 times more expensive than conventional oils seems very expensive indeed...but I suppose it depends on where you start from price wise! Food Grade Lubricants have to be used where there may be incidental contact with food and the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) is the new approval standard that is a continuation of the old USDA H1 approval for food grade lubricants.
We look after 2 companies that manufacture NSF approved lubricants.
But if you are not using food grade lubricants already I presume that you do not have to use them? And I believe that we could offer you a competitive price structure!
Perhaps you may care to contact me by email or visit our website.


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#8 Sandy Maclure

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 03:45 PM

Certainly the issue of the cost of Food Grade lubricants being 5-10 times has lodged in industrial folk lore. This has probably come about from the original 'white oil' products , being highly -refined , costing 5-10 times as much as the fairly poor industrial EP2 types at £1 per lb.
Time - and chemical engineering has moved on, and we now look at lifetime -or nearly lifetime lubrication with special lubricants.
The aim should be to use less lubricant more wisely.

Our Group manufactures and continues to develop food grade lubricants world-wide, using our extensive research facilities , global manufacturing and experience.
We have the largest range of food grade lubricants, oils, greases, pastes and dry coatings , designed for specific friction conditions.
Because of this, it is not sensible to use price as a measure, as we would compare apples and pears. Also , if you have a synthetic food grade gearbox oil costing more than its mineral counterpart, it is more expensive to buy, but if it lasts 3-4 times as long, which is cheaper, taking into account the maintenance and disposal costs of 3 extra changes?
Overall, the friction point is what matters.If what was originally specified was a compromise, because it was available at the time, an equivalent may not be suitable.
That is why our Group takes specific account of each lubrication point , without generalising.
Many blue-chip food compaies have seen large cost-savings using our USDA and NSF products, and our experience is held valuable by the Standards Committees world-wide.
If you wish to make use of the world-wide experience available from our Company, please contact me via my e-address and we will be able to help your company to save money, increase uptime and make your equipment last longer.


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#9 Charles Chew

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 06:13 AM

Hello,

I am definitely not A RESELLER of food grade lubricants nevertheless, "Equipment Maintenance and Schedule" is definitely an important and integral component of a HACCP System.

I share similar view with Simon that this is a matter for the HACCP Team to determine the severity and significance of the risk element in their own production environment specifically on the potential exposure of lubricant contamination during any process steps.

It is also true that you can be certain of a Product Recall whether you have food grade or non-food grade lubricants contaminated on your products. A consumer level recall will certainly burn a big hole in the bank account.

Its all in the hazard analysis but do be careful with "cross contaminations" if food grade and non-food grade lubricants are used. A good equipment monitoring and maintenance schedule is also the key to further cost savings.

My opinion - go for food grade lubricants

Cheers,
Charles B)


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Cheers,
Charles Chew
www.naturalmajor.com

#10 Charles Clayton

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 09:33 AM

Charles,
You are correct. The decision really lies with the Hazard/Safety personnel within your company to decide if there will be any incidental contact with food up to 10 parts per million. That's what you are allowed with H1 approved lubricants. H2 means they can be used in a food factory but with no direct contact. H3 approved 'lubricants' may be olive oil or similar where there is direct contact with food.
This 5 times more expensive is not our experience at all when looking at food grade against non food grade (we do them both.) And as for the technical or medical grade white oils, anybody who is paying more than £2/litre or so has a very generous nature and I'd love to be their supplier.
As far as correctly specifying food grade lubricants or non food grade, we take it as seriously as specifying the lubricant for the wing flap on the Airbus or other critical applications.
Belated greetings for 2004.
Charles Clayton.


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#11 Charles Chew

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 11:50 AM

Hello Charles,

Thanks and I believe is a good idea if you could give us (The Forum) a broader outlook of the various types of food grade oils available in the market as well as the suitability vs industries.

Your product knowledge on lubricants would help a lot of us make the right choice.

Mind you, I used to use "butter" for a spiral mechanism where direct contact with liquid food was evident (that was long time ago) but it worked and it was food grade and all for the sake of saving some bucks. We switched to longer lifespan food grade lubricants later on.

Cheers,
Charles Chew


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Cheers,
Charles Chew
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