Lubricants Contamination Analysis
The main types of lubricants used in the food industry are food-grade lubricants used on the equipment for the food processing, lubricants used as the release agent or film, and soluble oils applied to hooks or trolleys to prevent rust.
Figure 1. Food processing equipment associated with lubricants
Some lubricants that are used on food-processing equipment may have potential to contact food samples. These lubricants should be food-grade. The lubricants are used to increase the reliability, reduce the downtime and obtain higher throughput time for the food processing equipment. USDA has approved the use of food-contact lubricants in poultry and meat facilities. The lubricants usage needs to be monitored and regulated strictly. The lubricants used in food processing usually need to be registered.
The major source of lubricants getting into food products are through the processing equipment using lubricants. It is estimated that a number of food and beverage companies may use a combination of different categories of lubricants during food processing, rather than using only incidental food-contact lubricants for the processing equipment. This can increase the possibility of more harmful lubricants to enter the food products. The contamination of machinery lubricants with food and beverage is very often if the lubricants are used unproperly.
Non-food grade lubricants are produced from the petrol and oil which have a number of organic chemicals and heavy metals. This kind of lubricants can be harmful to human health. They can cause the allergic reaction when close contact with them. The lubricants are also toxic to organs of human bodies and even has the potential risk to cause cancer.
With the regulations and standards, food companies and lubricant manufacturers need to make efforts to comply with the regulations to minimize the potential risk of lubricants that exposure to humans. The U.S. FDA has set a "zero tolerance" for the food contamination caused by non-food grade lubricants. The proper use of food-grade lubricants is still not easy for some food equipment manufactures and plant operators and this issue is a concern for the food industry. It is very important for the food and beverage processing plants to prevent accidental lubricant contamination. Therefore, the analysis of lubricants in food matrices becomes more and more important.
The procedure for the analysis of lubricants in foods includes the sample preparation and extraction, clean-ups, and detection/quantification. We control sample preparation factors and have extensive steps for sample clean-up step. We have expertise in the sample preparation of a variety types of food matrices. The sample preparation has significant effect on the accuracy of the level measured in the food samples.
We offer accurate and validated analytical methods that have been widely applied in the determination of lubricants in food samples to meet customers' needs.
Gas chromatographs coupled with tandem mass spectrometer (GC-MS/MS)
GC-MS/MS can be used for the analysis of lubricants in a variety of different food matrices with low limit of detection.
We also maintain high quality assurance for the analysis. The recovery of internal standard, the use of blanks and spikes is monitored for each batch of analysis.
* Not intended for personal food safety testing.