What Is Food Safe? Food Grade, Food Safe and More

September 12, 2022

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When shopping for food storage containers and kitchen accessories, it’s always crucial to make sure the products you ultimately choose are made for use with food. You’ve probably seen the terms “food safe” and “food grade” while browsing products, but you may be unaware of exactly what each means. You may even think that the two terms can be used interchangeably. (They can’t.)

So, what is food safe? And what is food grade? We’re sharing everything you need to know about these common food safety options to help you better understand what to look for when shopping. Let’s go! 

Defining Food Safe vs. Food Grade

Though similar in meaning, food grade and food safe aren’t the same. “Food grade” refers to the materials from which a product is made. It indicates that it is permitted to come into direct contact with food meant for human consumption. Food-grade materials are non-toxic and can be used within the recommended temperature range. However, food-grade materials aren’t necessarily food-safe. 

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Food-safe products, on the other hand, are made with food-grade materials and are fit for their intended use and will not create any sort of safety hazard when used appropriately. This means that a food-safe container made for storing dry food is perfectly safe for that application, but it should not be used to store hot liquids. 

Think back to high school geometry. Just like all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares, every food-safe material is food-grade, but not all food-grade materials are food-safe. Food-safe material is safe to come into contact with food, while food-grade material is only safe when used appropriately. 

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The FDA’s Division of Food Contact Substances carefully examines materials to ensure that they are food-safe or food-grade, as specified by the manufacturer. The product is considered FDA compliant as long as it proves to be food-grade or food-safe. 

What About “Non-Toxic?” 

Plenty of products are labeled as “non-toxic” too. It means that the product does not contain any ingredients that are known toxins to humans. However, this term isn’t subject to the same government regulations as the others. Knowing that something is non-toxic is great, but it’s still important to determine whether it’s food-safe or food-grade prior to use. 

What’s Best? 

The best sustainable kitchen products are those that are food-safe. This indicates that they are made using food-grade materials and are safe as long as they are used appropriately to avoid hazards. 

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Whether you are looking for reusable silicone bags for storing frozen veggies or you need food containers that you can safely microwave at lunchtime, always pay close attention to the manufacturer’s guidelines. To ensure safety, never use containers for anything other than their intended purpose. We also recommend not reusing plastic containers from yogurt, cottage cheese, deli meat, etc. They typically aren’t meant for repeated washing and use, and you have no way of knowing what applications they are safe for. 

Find the Food-Safe Containers You Need at W&P

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At W&P, we have food storage containers to suit every need, and every single one is food-safe. When you browse the products on our website, always take a look at the “Details” area. This is where you’ll discover whether it’s microwave, freezer and/or dishwasher safe. Click over to the “Materials” section to learn what specific materials the product is made from. 

We take great care to balance style, sustainability and safety to create high-quality food and beverage containers for virtually any application. Browse the complete collection today to find everything you need to give your container cabinet a much-needed upgrade!