Food Grade vs Food Safe - What is the difference

You may have always thought these two terms meant the same thing. Or maybe you know they’re different but not sure what each one means.

So, what does each one actually mean?

In short, food grade means that the material is suitable to come into direct contact with food.

And food safe means that the food grade material and finished product is suitable for it’s intended use and will not create a food safety hazard.

The key difference here is regarding materials, and finished products.

Food grade typically refers to a material, and essentially states that the material doesn’t contain any toxins or dangerous substances. For something to be considered food grade, the material must be able to be cleaned effectively, and not allow any foreign particles to find their way into food. Generally, the surface should be smooth and free of any imperfections such as cracks, ridges or crevices, where bacteria could grow.

When this material is used to create a product, the situation changes slightly, and this is where food safe comes in. A product is said to be food safe when it is declared safe to use for the specific purpose for which it is designed. This includes considerations like the temperature that it will be used at, the ability to clean the product, and how long it will be in contact with food.