Grease is the Word

Food-grade lubricants help keep a processing plant running smoothly while complying with federal regulations.

A damaged reputation and thousands of pounds of wasted product are just two of the adverse effects of product recalls, so it’s no wonder that meat and poultry processors work so strenuously to avoid them.

One way to keep on the right side of the USDA and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) is by using foodgrade lubricants in all processing machinery and other equipment that would come into contact with food.

Food-grade lubricants are NSF H-1 registered products, which means they are permitted in areas where incidental contact with food products is possible.

The use of food-grade lubricants also pays benefits in dealing with HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point) guidelines. Lubricants fall within the chemical hazard classification of HACCP, explains Jim Girard, vice president and chief marketing officer for Lubriplate/Fiske Brothers Refining Co., Newark, NJ. “If the meat and poultry plants use NSF/H-1/food-grade lubricants, that eliminates lubricants as chemical hazards in HACCP plans. That’s one less element in a HACCP they have to worry about,” he says. Jim Selleck, vice president - marketing for Klüber Lubrication, Londonderry, NH, says USDA is watching meat, poultry, and seafood processors closely.

“That being the fact, they need to make sure they are truly using food-grade lubricants,” he says. “Some people in plants get confused between H-1 and H- 2 registered products. H-2 are products that can be used in food plants but should not be used in areas of incidental food contact.” He recommends looking at the NSF Web site for a list of H-1 registered products. (To view a list of companies with H-1 registered lubricants and other products, visit

Mike Rooney, central region manager for Behnke Lubricants/Jax, Menomonee Falls, WI, says some meat packers are starting to use food-grade lubricants in all areas of the plant for added safety.

Richard Camper, vice president sales and marketing of Hasco Oil Co., Long Beach, CA, advises that merely using the proper lubricants may not be enough to ensure compliance with regulatory agencies. The heightened sensitivity to food safety will result in unintended consequences, “such as citations for not maintaining proper documentation on food-grade lubricants,” he says. “Meat and poultry producers must be aware that the more eyes they have on them, the more they need to be prepared to answer questions.”

Tough conditions

The meat and poultry processing environment is a harsh one for lubricants. A plant may have processing equipment in a wide variety of acidity levels and temperature extremes. The constant wash-down and sanitizing of the machinery may also reduce contamination of the product, but it can also reduce the effectiveness of the oils and greases. “It is a constant challenge for sanitation and maintenance to have a safe lubricant that reduces or eliminates rust and corrosion,” says Beth Kloos, president of Haynes Manufacturing Co., Westlake, OH. “The environment is many times a wet environment, so lubricants have to maintain a fine balance between performance in extreme conditions and maintaining a sanitary environment.”

Modern machinery also poses a challenge, says Russell Mays, senior product manager of Krylon Products Group, Continued on page 50 Cleveland, OH. “Manufacturers are challenged by the speed of processing continually increasing,” he says. “This eliminates many traditional lubes that cannot meet temperature and durability requirements of high-speed processing equipment.”

Many lubricant companies offer synthetic lubricants, instead of white mineral oil-based lubricants, to handle these extreme environments. “Synthetics have a wider range of temperature operations, both on the cold and on the hot side,” says Lance Landgraf, manager of U.S. market development for Keystone Lubricants, Linden, NJ. “Synthetics also have a lower pour point.”

The drawback to synthetics is that there is a significant cost over the mineral oil lubricants, but Landgraf says the value of synthetics offsets that. “Its up-front cost is larger, yes,” he explains, “but in the long run, the maintenance cost is going to go down. You can keep it in the machine longer without having to change it out, which produces less down-time.”

There are many new products on the market that can be used in the meat and poultry industries. Keystone Lubricants offers the Nevastane SL line of synthetic lubes and oils. “You get longer life, less machine changeouts, and you get improved lubrication itself with the use of the synthetics, both on the fluid and grease side,” Landgraf says.

Klüber offers an assembly paste, which is similar to a grease but with a higher amount of solids, that can be used on machinery that gets assembled and disassembled frequently. The Klüber Paste UH184-201 can be used on screws, bolts, and nonrotational movable parts.

Krylon Products Group offers the Sprayon™ S00728 Safety-Syn Lube with Teflon, a synthetic H-1, non-flammable aerosol with extreme pressure performance, low odor, and a temperature range of up to 475°F, suitable for highspeed processing equipment.

Hasco Oil increased the oxidation resistance and Timken OK load, which refers to the amount of load the lube can hold without the film breaking down, for its synthetic Glacier Grease product. “We are also introducing a high-temperature synthetic oven chain oil to address the difficulty in maintaining proper Continued on page 52 lubrication intervals in this harsh environment,” Camper says.

Haynes 500 and Haynes 500 Plus synthetic grease were designed to perform in applications where extreme conditions in temperature and environment exist. They are sold with colorcoded packaging and multi-lingual labeling to reduce the possibility of mistakenly using a non-food-grade lubricant and necessitating a production shut-down.

Jax offers a new food-grade grease called Halo-Guard FG. Along with good high- and low-temperature performance, anti-wear protection, and water wash-out characteristics, the grease has a Timken OK load of 60 pounds. Lubriplate offers calcium sulfinatethickened greases, which Girard says are “very resistant to machinery washdown, and they also have a very hightemperature capability.” It also offers the SFGO Ultra series of fluids that are effective in colder environments.

Food-grade lubricants are becoming more prevalent. “Years ago, there was a phobia that if you used food-grade lubricants, you sacrificed your anti-wear protection, oxidation, and stability of the product,” explains Rooney. Today, he says, processors can find food-grade products that are going to perform as good as the non-food lubricants, “and in many cases improve the performance they’ve seen with their non-food-grade product.” NP

Food-grade lubricant sources participating in this article include:

• Behnke Lubricants Inc./Jax, phone (262) 781-8850, fax (262) 781-3906, e-mail, or visit
• Hasco Oil Co. Inc., phone (800) 456-8491, fax (562) 427-15-34, e-mail, or visit www.hascooil. com
• Haynes Lubricants, phone (440) 871-2188, fax (440) 871-8418,, or visit
• Keystone Lubricants, phone (800) 344-2241, fax (908) 862-6885, e-mail, or visit
• Klüber Lubrication, phone (800) 447-2238, fax (603) 647-4106, e-mail, or visit www.kluber. com
• Krylon Products Group, phone (800) 777- 2966, fax (800) 243-3075, or visit www.KPGIndustrial. com
• Lubriplate Lubricants/Fiske Brothers Refining Co., phone (973) 589-9150, fax (973) 589-4432, e-mail, or visit