The food and beverage industry reflects strict regulations for flooring materials in order to prevent contamination and unsafe conditions for employees. Many products claim to be “food grade” or “food safe”. What exactly does food grade mean then? Food grade is a category indicating the relative quality of food as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Every person interprets this definition differently. Various epoxy products advertise themselves as food grade. To see if you’re flooring meets the general guidelines of food grade material please check off each item below.
- Concrete is seamlessly covered by hygienic flooring to prevent bacterial growth
- Flooring meets USDA and NSF requirements
- Material meets the EPA requirements, such as the amount of VOC content
- Traffic was accounted for and flooring material is skid resistant and durable
- Cleaning solutions and methods were tested on flooring material (for example, power washing and aggressive cleaning chemicals)
- Material avoids the transference of odor
- Flooring can be installed quickly without down time
The more bullets you checked off the better your floor scores on food safety. Please note these are only guidelines and to truly be food safe there are various agencies (such as NSF) that test products for compliance. An option not mentioned in this article is slip resistant food grade stainless steel flooring. Food grade stainless steel flooring meets all of the requirements for food safe materials.