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The Food Grade Market Podcast

April 10, 2012

Summit Food Grade market manager Ike Trexler explains Food Grade certifications, markets, trends and puts to rest a stigma that has been following food grade products for far too long.

Here is an excerpt from the podcast:

Q: What constitutes a product as “food grade” and how does the NSF / H1 play into that? Are there laws involved? Do certain companies have to use food grade products by law?
A: Food Grade Products have different classifications as outlined originally by the USDA and others. Those classifications include H1, H2, H3, and 3H. Summit’s focus is on the H1 Category of products for use in food production areas. H1 products are defined for use in areas of production where there is a possibility of getting that lubricant into the food product being processed.
Laws are vague and many companies are still not using Food Grade Oils and Greases in their production equipment. The newly passed Food Safety Act has stipulations that address issues regarding production safety. We are still a long way from understanding how far this Act will penetrate the marketplace.

It is my opinion that all food processors should be using Food Grade Products in their operations. With the performance characteristics of the oils and greases that Summit is now offering, why take the risk of contaminating and possibly making someone ill over not being compliant?
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Q: What kinds of businesses use food grade products? What are some examples of applications where food grade products are used?
A: A very simple way to answer this question is to go to your local grocery store or market and look around. You see canned goods, frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, and the list goes on and on. Also think about the health care products you see. Toothpaste, creams, cough syrup, etc. All these are taking into the body and should be as safe as possible.
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Q: How saturated is this market? How many businesses have you ran into that should be using food grade products but are not?
A: There are now quite a few companies getting into this market. Food Production has always been a market but just recently it seems as if everyone is taking a look at it as a “new opportunity” for business growth. Summit has taken extensive steps to be at the top of the list of the credible companies producing food grade products. Many companies are offering products that are questionable at best. ISO has a new standard for Food Grade Lubricant Production ISO 21469 and Summit was the very first Oil Company in North America to get that certification. Summit is certified. Some of our competitors are using marketing tricks that state that they are “compliant”. They are not certified.
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Q: What are the benefits of food grade products? Why should some companies make the switch?
A: Safety! There is a significant risk if a company does not use food grade oils. If an adult or child becomes sick from eating a particular food contaminated with oil or grease, imagine the lawsuits, etc. that would follow. The press would make this the leading story and most likely would lead to fines and possible shutting down of a company. This is a real possibility and can happen. Think of the E. Coli and other stories lately on the news.
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Q: What are some of the drawbacks? Is there a loss in oil life, etc?
A: Shorter lubricant life, higher costs, more equipment wear, and other problems exist with some Food Grade Lubricants. NOT WITH SUMMIT! We have worked very hard to create a line of food safe products that meet or exceed the performance of conventional lubricants and be H1 rated. Our competition is trying to catch up.
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Q: Summit has been in the Food Grade business for a number of years now, is this a market you see as a growing market? Are businesses starting to figure out that this is a good thing for them?
A: This market is definitely growing. As the world’s population grows, so does the demand for a safe food supply. That’s why we are seeing others getting into this market. The problem is that some are not taking the time to do it right. There are some key items missing with some of the products being offered by these companies.

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ISO 9001

Summit first received its ISO 9001 certification in January of 1996, demonstrating a commitment to quality assurance and performance monitoring. ISO 9001 certification is an international quality standard that addresses a comprehensive list of business elements, including management responsibility, order processing, purchasing, process control, traceability, handling of non-conforming product, and internal auditing. Our present ISO 9001 certification is proof of our continuing quality commitment to our customers.

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ISO 14001

Summit is committed to protecting the environment, the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities where we work and live. We recognize that through integrating sound environmental health, and safety management practices into all aspects of our business ... we can offer innovative products and services while conserving and enhancing resources for future generations.

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NSF ISO 21469

ISO 21469 specifies hygiene requirements for the formulation, manufacture, use and handling of lubricants, which may come into contact with products during manufacturing or processing. The international standard applies to lubricants intended for use in food production, as well as cosmetic, pharmaceutical and animal feed industries. NSF ISO 21469 Certification by an independent, third party provides Summit with a means to obtain international acceptance for their products. 

You can see a list of Summit’s ISO 21469 certified products by clicking here.