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Food Safe

According to FDA, food safe compliance is based on materials being safe for direct food contact. These materials are also called food contact substances (FCS). A countertop is considered a food contact substance.

Food-Grade vs. Food Safe

Food-grade means that the material is fit for human consumption or permitted to come in contact with food. But just because a material is permitted to come in contact with food, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is food-safe. Food-safe means that the food-grade material is also fit for purpose for its intended use and will not create a food-safety hazard. Section 117.40 in Subpart B of FSMA states: “Food-contact surfaces must be made of nontoxic materials and designed to withstand the environment of their intended use and the action of food, and, if applicable, cleaning compounds, sanitizing agents, and cleaning procedures”.

Non-Toxic

It important that concrete countertop sealers are food safe and non-toxic. The popularity of food-safe concrete sealers has drastically increased in recent years as consumers have become more conscious about the high volumes of toxins surrounding us. That’s why using food-safe finishes on surfaces that come into contact with our food and our mouths is very important. The first area of concern when it comes to toxicity is during application on your project. You should always have good ventilation and breathing protection is recommended for concrete coatings.

Choosing a Treatment

Penetrating concrete sealers are available in water based and solvent based variations. Both formulations penetrate into the concrete and work in the same manner, but it is important to note that when discussing water or solvent, we are discussing the “carrier” of the active ingredients within the sealer. Water-based formulations are the most eco-friendly as they are non-flammable, non-hazardous and is safe to use around food surfaces, people and pets. Water based sealers do not smell and will not add an odor to the food items that it comes into contact with.

Solvent formulas are bit more complex. As a carrier, solvents will carry active ingredients deeper into dense surfaces like concrete. They have higher levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) but they perform and last longer than water-based sealers. Although solvent-based products are hazardous in their chemical state, once they are applied and fully cured, they are food-safe. A common misconception is that drying time is the same as curing time. It’s not. Your finish isn’t cured once it’s dried.

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