What You Should Know About Food Safety: FDA Compliance & Silicone Seals
The U.S. government created the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to oversee and ensure food safety. The FDA approaches this task by investigating food manufacturers to guarantee that food is safe through sanitary practices and conditions. The government body also works to safeguard human and animal drugs, medical devices, cosmetics and much more. The FDA follows a Code of Federal Regulations to inspect, review and assess a list of chemicals and materials, such as silicone seals, that come into contact with food.
Why Are Silicone Rubber Products a Critical Part of the Food Industry?
Since created and developed, the applications for silicone rubber products have grown due to:
- Ease of manufacturing
- Higher water resistance
- More chemically inert than woods and metals
Silicone has become a vital material used in the food industry, found in spatulas, tongs, oven mitts, baking mats, cupcake molds, candy molds and muffin tins. Although food manufacturers, restaurant chefs and everyday cooks in their homes have adopted silicone-based products as a natural part of modern life, it remains the subject of some safety concerns that the FDA monitors.
What Is Silicone Rubber?
Silicone rubber is an elastomer, which is a polymer that contains silicon, hydrogen, carbon and oxygen, and is frequently used in food, medical, military, aerospace and consumer-based industries.
What Are the Different Silicone Grades?
Industry buyers need to understand the different silicone grades and their core properties. Some silicone rubber products exhibit thermal conductivity, chemical stability, fire resistance, heat and cold resistance, and flame retardancy.
Manufacturers of silicone seals can change the base polymer by adding fortifying fillers and other special additives to tailor the final product to each industry’s needs. Such alterations can strengthen the silicone to meet the required application’s standards.
Here are a few different silicone seal grades and their uses:
- General-Purpose Silicone Rubber. This type of silicone has the essential silicone features that include heat resistance, chemical stability, UV resistance and more. Often used in the food industry, the most common products that use general purpose silicone rubber include kitchenware.
- Low-Hardness Silicone Rubber. This silicone rubber has a low hardness that makes it very soft, and is used in shoe insoles, baby nipples, anti-slip mats and cling wraps for food preservation.
- High-Hardness Silicone Rubber. With high hardness and rigidity, manufacturers of thermoplastics and thermosets use this silicone rubber most frequently.
- High-Transparency Silicone Rubber. The high transparency and strength of this silicone rubber has high-tear strength and is easy to color with various pigments, making it crucial in manufacturing medical tubing and silicone nipples.
Additional types of silicone rubber include flame retardant, thermal conductive, electrically conductive, high-heat resistant and oil resistant.
From the various types of silicone rubber and its many uses, it is no surprise how vital it is to have supply chain management.
Investing in the Right Silicone Seals Are Vital to Each Industry and Maintaining a Healthy Supply Chain
Since there is such a large variety of silicones available for various uses, conditions and environments, you need to make sure you buy the right type of silicone rubber and o-ring seals. Reach out to a trusted manufacturer and seller to maintain smooth-running supply chain management.
Ordering the wrong type of seal could back up your production schedule and, in some cases, put lives at risk. With the right support, you can feel confident that you are investing in the right silicone grade for your industry and products.