The continuing safety of using stainless steel in food preparation has been confirmed in an independent study following the introduction of new test criteria in Europe.
The Council of Europe (CoE) published a guideline regarding metals and alloys in food contact materials in 2013, defining specific release limits (SRLs) for a range of metals including iron, chromium, nickel, manganese and molybdenum and specifying a new, more aggressive test to simulate use in food preparation.
Team Stainless commissioned the internationally renowned KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden to independently test seven grades of stainless steel in accordance with the new protocol.
The seven grades tested included the two most common grades – 304 (EN 1.4301) and 316L (EN 1.4404) – as well as the ferritic grades EN 1.4003 and 430 (EN 1.4016), the austenitic grades 204 (EN 1.4597) and 201 (EN 1.4372), and the high-strength lean duplex LDX 2101 (EN 1.4162).
The authors demonstrated that all of the grades passed the test prescribed in the CoE guidelines for the relevant metallic elements of stainless steel. The study also demonstrated that the rate of release decreases significantly following initial exposure and with repeated use over time.
Spokesperson for Team Stainless, John Rowe, said: “Stainless steel is the material of choice for many kitchen applications such as utensils, pans, appliances and commercial catering equipment. By demonstrating compliance with the new CoE guidelines for the relevant metallic elements, this study confirms its continuing safety as a food contact material. It is still important to match the grade of stainless steel from the many options available with the food being prepared and the required cleaning regime to ensure the best performance.”