3D printing in the food industry

In the production of a product intended for the food industry, there are international standards that require the manufacturer to comply with it if he wants to sell a product for the food industry.

Familiarity with the certifications in the field and their meaning in a nutshell:

  1. ROHS – European Environmental Approval To the product itself only.
  2. ISO 14001 – International certification That the factory The manufacturer meets environmental standards. The plant can also produce ABS (an oil-based material), but this means that the plant is run properly in terms of the environment, electricity consumption, etc.

Compliance with this standard provides customs rebates to importers within European countries (but not to importers in Israel) and therefore it is also likely that this standard is less dominant in Israel.

For comparison, compliance with this standard will increase the price of the product by more than 20%.

  1. FDA – US Food and Drug Administration.

A well-known and very significant approval regarding the product’s permission to come into contact with food (there are quite a few reservations)

Certificates such as ISO 9001 and the like are meaningless when it comes to authorizing the next product in contact with food. This standard means that the company is organized in accordance with the standard in question.

There are a number of raw material suppliers who claim that PLA can be used in the production of the next product in contact with food, this claim is baseless and I will explain

  1. It is clearly unlikely that any manufacturer will supply PLA material without ROHS approval compared to very few that supply with FDA approval.

Rarely do manufacturers add color-changing or mechanical strength additives so the product will not meet the standard.

  1. We will assume that the supply of printing materials has FDA approval, this still does not mean that the product intended for the food sector can be printed with the raw material because the machine parts usually contain lead (there is no need to expand on how dangerous the lead is).

In other words, the machine will not receive FDA approval unless all parts of the machine contain lead-free steel (but it is still not possible to commit to 100%)

  1. Even if there is a manufacturer that presents an FDA approved machine and FDA approved material there is still a need for respectable reference regarding the field of bacterial treatment.

Note that it is not possible to boil or use the dishwasher in favor of sterilizing the product (will distort the plastic) and if meat or eggs are used the problem is much bigger.

Methods that allow 3D printing of the following product in contact with food:

  1. Epoxy coating with a vacuum bell (the material must be FDA approved and there is no compromise at this point) It is best to use PET which is a preferred material for printing a product that comes in contact with food, most drinking bottles are made of this material.
  2. Printing with FDA-compliant PP-poly material.

In conclusion – it is better to use PET material over PLA in the important aspect of growing bacteria.

Use of PLA for contact with food will only be considered if the conditions I described above are met

If all the conditions are not met and the product is intended for use a few single times there is probably a possibility that it will not cause harm.

Is it possible to give this process responsibility? Certainly not, only for a product created in a process approved by the competent authorities.

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