Navigating the world of lubricants in the food industry involves considering NSF ratings, a crucial aspect in ensuring compliance with safety standards. Understanding these ratings is essential for making informed choices in various applications. The H1 rating designates lubricants suitable for incidental food contact, allowing use in and around food processing areas. These lubricants can protect against rust, act as release agents, and serve as machine lubricants with minimal exposure to food. On the other hand, H2-rated lubricants are intended for areas with no potential contact with edible products. Meanwhile, the 3H rating applies to release agents or direct food contact, particularly on surfaces in contact with food during processing. Some lubricants can hold both H1 and 3H ratings, offering versatility. For detailed guidance on selecting the right lubricant for your application, our Lubricant Specialists are ready to assist you at 800-826-8302.

NSF Ratings for Lubricants


H1 Rated: Lubricants with Incidental Food Contact (Food-Grade Lubricants)

This product is acceptable as a lubricants with incidental food contact for use in and around food processing areas.  Such compounds may be used on food processing equipment as a protective anti-rust, as a release agent on gaskets or seals of tank closures, and as a lubricant for machine parts and equipment in locations in which there
is a potential exposure of the lubricant part to food. The amount used should be the minimum required to accomplish the desired technical effect on the equipment. If used as an anti-rust film, the compound must be removed from the equipment surface by washing or wiping, as required to leave the surface effectively free of any substance which could be transferred to food being processed. An oil or grease qualifies as an NSF H1 food-grade lubricant when, in the event of a contamination, it is present in no more than 10 mg per kg of the food in question and must not cause any physiological hazard or affect the food's odor and taste in any way.

Lubricant being poured between two gearsLubricant being poured between two gears

H2 Rated: Lubricants with No Food Contact

These products are used on equipment and machine parts in locations where there is no possibility of the lubricant or lubricated part contacting
edible products. There is not a specific list of substances that may be used as lubricants where there is no possibility of food contact. There may be
other substances that are not acceptable because of unfavorable toxicology or other considerations. Therefore, each preparation will be evaluated
on its own merit.

3H Rated: Release Agents or Direct Food Contact

These products are used on grills, loaf pans, cutters, boning benches, chopping boards, or other hard surfaces in contact with food products to
prevent food from adhering during processing.

Some lubricants can be both H1 and 3H rated.

If you are unsure which lubricants to use, please call our Lubricant Specialists at 800-826-8302 and provide information regarding your application and we will be happy to assist you.

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