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What makes O-rings ‘food-safe’?

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At Precision Polymer Engineering, our specialist sealing engineers are tasked with finding high performance solutions for some of the most critically challenging industries. Developing sealing products for the Food sector are certainly no exception.

Our sealing solutions experts go to the greatest lengths to ensure PPE products are suitable for use with food stuffs intended for human consumption, and significantly exceed the minimum compliance requirements for food industry regulatory standards.


Although the requirements of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) only apply to the United States, the standards are commonly adopted worldwide. In accordance with the FDA’s White List, O-rings must consist solely of the ingredients listed to be FDA-compliant, including both natural and synthetic polymers.

FDA CFR 21.177.2600 lists the ingredients and quantitative limits that may be used in a rubber compound for moulded products intended for repeated use in all stages of food manufacture, preparation and transportation. This standard also specifies the limit on extractable products if the FDA rubber seal is to be used in contact with aqueous or fatty foods. 

FDA-compliant materials are usually tasteless, odourless, non-toxic, bacteria resistant and demonstrate excellent stability when exposed to a wide range of temperatures. This combination of characteristics makes the product compliant for use in the food process industry. It is important to note that O-rings manufactured using FDA-compliant materials are not necessarily suitable for the intended application. A consultation with a sealing specialist can help you identify the correct material grade to meet the unique demands of your application.

Food Safety at Precision Polymer Engineering

We are certified by regulatory bodies to a variety of international standards, but it’s important to consider the concepts of compliance and food safety separately. Whilst we comply with the requirements of FDA, 3A Sanitary Standards and European Court regulations, our dedication to delivering high quality, high performance elastomers surpasses them. As manufacturers, it is our duty to safeguard consumers against any dangers which may arise as a result of product contamination.


Our purpose-built facilities in Blackburn, UK and Houston, TX provide us with access to a state-of-the-art laboratory, allowing us to test and analyse the capabilities of all our polymeric materials. Some of the key capabilities we test for are:

  • Chemical Compatibility
  • Failure Analysis
  • Microscopy
  • Thermo-mechanical Evaluation
  • Physical property determination
  • Explosive Decompression/Rapid Gas Decompression (RGD)

Clean Room

Clean room manufacturing refers to a controlled environment which is free from or has a low level of pollutants. These include:

  • Dust
  • Contaminants
  • Airborne Microbes
  • Aerosol Particles
  • Chemical Vapours

At Precision Polymer Engineering, we have four clean rooms dedicated to delivering safe, high performance O-rings for the food and dairy industries. This gives us the highest levels of confidence in the cleanliness and purity of our elastomer sealing products.


Our material scientists pioneered the development of Detectaseal O-rings – the latest advance in contamination detection and containment. Our metal-detectable O-rings are specifically designed to handle the challenges faced in the food process industry. Detectaseal O-rings allow you to detect fragments as small as 2mm using standard X-ray equipment, and are also FDA-compliant for total peace of mind.

Get in touch
If you work in the food or dairy industry and are looking to improve the effectiveness and safety of your sealing equipment, get in touch with us for a free expert consultation on 01254 295400, or send an enquiry using our Contact form.

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