Stainless Steel in the Food Industry – Why Is it So Important?

stainless steel in the food industry

Stainless steel in the food industry plays a hugely important role, despite there being several other metals available. As such, it’s used extensively for food processing and storage equipment.

A variety of grades of stainless steel including 304, 316, 409 and 439 are used for manufacturing, transportation, bulk storage, preparation and presentation applications. But why is this?

What makes stainless steel in the food industry – the number one choice

Easy to form and weld, excellent heat resistant properties and exceptional mechanical strength are just some of the advantages of stainless steel. Other benefits include:

  • Easy to clean preventing the build-up of dirt, grime, and bacteria
  • Can withstand shock and abrasion
  • Retains its natural colour for many years
  • Possesses excellent cryogenic properties
  • Maintains the freshness of food items and prevents contamination
  • Comes in a wide range of finishes
  • Is able to withstand nicking, denting, and scratching even in aggressive conditions
  • Can withstand heavy washdowns using detergents or chemicals
  • Suitable for handling food containing spicy ingredients and strong colouring agents
  • Provides chemical and bacteriological neutrality with regard to food products
  • Is inert to cooked food and vegetables which produce acids and alkalis
  • Blends perfectly with other fixtures and finishes
  • Does not crack, pit, or break easily
  • Withstands fire and does not buckle or warp easily
  • It highly durable and resistant to aging and corrosion
  • Is neutral to food items – in other words, the taste, smell, and colour of all handled items remains the same

Furthermore, stainless steel in the food industry can be easily formed into various shapes necessary to fabricate a wide range of equipment and machinery used in the food processing industry.

What are these food-grade metals used in the fabrication of?

Stainless steel is extensively used in the food industry for a diverse range of equipment, including

  • Evaporator tubes
  • Beer kegs
  • Ice cream moulds
  • Flour silos
  • Tanks for low-fat milk
  • Conveyor systems
  • Syrup tanks
  • Food mixers
  • Double-wall food transport containers
  • Confectionery equipment
  • Food pulveriser
  • Peeling machine
  • Industrial ovens
  • Professional knives and spatulas

What about the cost?

While it may be a higher cost initially to invest in stainless steel in the food industry, it could cost a company more in terms of scrapping batches of contaminated products, not to mention the possibility of regulatory issues, penalty fines, and even shutdowns.

In essence, stainless steel is a sound investment long-term which could potentially save the lives of the 86 people every year who (according to a 2010 report from the Australian Department of Health) die from the effects of foodborne illnesses.

If you’d like to find out more about how stainless-steel products can benefit your business or you’d like to discuss your next project, then get in touch with the experts at Metro Steel. Call us today on 07 3204 1000.


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