A food grade pump is an essential component in the food and beverage manufacturing industries. The pumps come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from small diaphragm pumps used to pump purees to large centrifugal pumps used to transport milk. A clean and bacteria-free process is paramount for the industries, that sets high demands on the food grade industry pumps used.
WHAT IS A FOOD GRADE PUMP?
A food grade pump is meant to pump liquids that are to be consumed in some way. They are made entirely or partly of food-grade materials, are often easy to clean and have no hidden areas where products can stick and lead to bacterial growth and contamination. A food grade pump may be certified in its entirety (EHEDG) or have sealing materials that are approved.
WHEN IS THE PUMP NEEDED?
Food grade pumps are needed when pumping foods such as soft drinks, milk, soups and sauces. In food production, it is very important that the process is and remains clean without bacteria. The material and special design of a food grade pump helps to ensure a hygienic process.
REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD GRADE PUMPS
To ensure that a food grade pump is sanitary enough to be in contact with foods and drinks, both the design and the choice of materials are very important. It may seem complicated, but there are several standards and certificates to ensure that you are buying the right food grade pump. The standards and certificates ensure that the pump and its materials meet the stringent hygienic requirements.
PUMP FOR FOOD IN HYGIENIC MATERIALS
In a pump, it is not only the seals in contact with the liquid that must be food compliant, but the entire pump must also be made of hygienic materials. Mostly, a food grade pump is made of polished 316L stainless steel, both on the outside and inside. In a positive displacement pump such as a double diaphragm pump, all components in contact with the liquid - diaphragms and ball check valves- are likewise made of food-grade materials, such as SS, PTFE, EPDM-FDA or NBR-FDA.
CLEANING PUMPS THAT PUMP FOOD
Another important element for the food grade pump is the cleaning process. The material surfaces of a food grade pump are usually polished, which makes them easier to clean. The pump should also be made without any hidden places where bacterial growth can occur, which can contaminate and stop production.
A food grade pump should be easy to disassemble and assemble, facilitating drainage and inspection. These pumps are also often built for Clean-In-Place (CIP) and Sterilisation-In-Place (SIP) which makes cleaning more efficient.
CERTIFICATIONS FOR FOOD INDUSTRY PUMPS
EHEDG-FOOD GRADE PUMP
EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group) works to promote hygiene, improve food safety, and increase the cleaning efficiency and effectiveness of food manufacturing and packaging. In addition to practical guidelines, testing procedures, certification and training, EHEDG provides a platform for the global food industry. A pump certified by EHEDG has undergone extensive testing of the pump's design with regard to cleaning.
The EHEDG seal ensures that you get a hygienically designed food grade pump.
A certification from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) verifies that products that are consumed or come into close contact with humans have been treated with materials that are hygienic. FDA compliance refers to the pump's material selection of gaskets, seals and plastic parts, while an EHEDG certification ensures that the entire pump is certified and tested for use in a hygienic environment. EHEDG is thus a higher standard than FDA.
A pump may have FDA-approved seals while the rest of the pump's design is not food-grade, which means that the pump should not be used in certain food manufacturing applications. It is therefore important to be aware of the choice of materials and the design of the pump before you start using it in your process.
The European standard EN 10204 specifies the various inspection documents that must accompany the delivery of metal goods. You get a checklist and traceability of the materials used in the equipment. 2.1 is a general declaration of compliance with the material specifications, while 3.1 gives specific traceability data all the way to the steel mill batch (normally only for metals in contact with the product).
This EU regulation applies to all materials that encounters food, such as metal, plastic and rubber materials. The Regulation requires that these materials are safe, labelled with the glass and fork symbol, traceable throughout the production chain (as per EN 10204 above) and manufactured in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
CE is probably the mark most people recognise. A product classified as a machine and carries the CE marking complies with the essential health and safety requirements of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EEC.
The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) defines in Class I through VI how a plastic or rubber material can be exposed to human tissue. Class VI requires the most stringent testing, and such materials are considered safe enough to be used in implants, for example.
3-A is another certification for machine equipment for hygienic applications but not so common in Europe. A 3-A certification specifies the criteria for the design and manufacture of equipment.
WE WILL GUIDE YOU TO THE RIGHT FOOD GRADE PUMP
As you will have noticed from our summary, there are several bodies, standards and certificates that ensure that the food and beverage being pumped is handled safely. At Tapflo, we have extensive experience in hygienic pumping and are happy to guide you to a suitable food pump for your application. Do not hesitate to contact us and we will tell you more!
NEXT CASE STUDY
Tapflo Air Operated Double Diaphragm Metal series - The compact, smooth and simple design is common for this series.