Food and beverage producers rely on a wide array of equipment to ensure their products are safe and free of contamination. Sealing devices such as gaskets are key components in this equipment, yet do not receive the attention they warrant given the critical importance of their function.
PTFE-based and elastomeric seals have for decades been the products of choice for food and beverage applications. The two most commonly referenced Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for sealing products are found in the Code of Federal Regulations under Title 21 (Food and Drugs), part 177 (Indirect Food Additives: Polymers). Section 177.1550 focuses on perfluorocarbons such as PTFE- based products, and Section 177.2600 deals with rubber articles intended for repeated use.
These two standards specify which ingredients used in the production of sealing products are acceptable for applications where contact with food products can occur, as well as how much of the approved ingredients can be released from the polymer/elastomer when extracted with specific media — i.e. water, hexane, etc. — under specified testing conditions.