Are you looking for the perfect bottle or jar for your food or beverage product? You may have heard about food-grade safe bottles and jars, but how can you be sure the glass bottle or plastic jar you have selected is food-grade safe? Time for some answers.
It is comforting to know that regulatory bodies around the world have regulations that determine which component is food-grade safe, For the US, the responsibility falls on the FDA, or the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA regulates everything from dietary supplements to microwave ovens, and they are the ones that determine acceptable food grade packaging options for glass and plastic bottles.
Glass and Plastic containers such as bottles, jars, and jugs, are considered by the FDA as indirect food additives - substances that may come into contact with food as part of packaging or processing equipment, but are not intended to be added directly to food.
Let's start with Glass
The FDA has previously advised that soda lime glass bottles and jars are not "food additives" as defined above. In the glass manufacturing world, they are classified as Type I and Type III. Both of which are considered as "GRAS", or Generally Regarded As Safe.
GRAS is an FDA designation, and it is given to chemical or substances added to food, directly or indirectly, that is considered safe by experts. GRAS was first described in the Food Additives Amendment of 1958, and is updated and re-tested when new standards are made available. For more information about GRAS, click here to go to the FDA website.
So in summary, glass is generally considered food-grade safe.
The complicated world of Plastic
Plastic bottles and jars, on the other hand, aren't as straight forward. There are many plastic resin materials out there: on top of PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP that we all know, thanks to the wonderful classification of OTHER - 7. Some plastic materials or colorant materials are not food-grade safe, as they can be qualified as "food additives" by the FDA but do not have the GRAS designation. So for plastic bottles, food-grade safe has to be specifically tested at the resin and colorant level, and not at the finished product level.
For example, clear PET plastic with no colorant added is generally regarded as food-grade safe. And most HDPE resins with no colorant added are also regarded as food-grade safe.
Most of the plastic bottles and jars marketed as food containers and beverage bottles are food-grade safe, as the plastic resin used to produce these containers have been independently tested for that purpose. To confirm your plastic bottle or jar is food-grade safe, contact your manufacturer for resin specification sheet, if your plastic bottle is colored, also ask for colorant specification sheet. They generally contain information that will answer your question.