Food Grade Stainless Steel Overview
Generally speaking, the surface permeability of food grade stainless steel is much worse and it is much smoother. For example, these special forms of stainless steel must be able to withstand acids, alkalis, and chlorides such as salts, which are often introduced to the surface of the steel during processing. If stainless steel does not have this property, these corrosive materials may cause premature corrosion-once corrosion begins to form, it must be removed from the circulation system immediately due to its uneven surface.
Since there are about 150 types of stainless steel on the market today, it is easy to make a mistake of choosing a surface treatment that does not meet all FDA requirements. Having said that, many finishes may look similar, but in fact, what they can handle in daily work is quite different.
For industrial food applications where destructive corrosion is more common, manufacturers can choose to electropolish stainless steel. This one-time treatment improves acid resistance and ultimately prevents corrosion that may cause contamination.
Features of food grade stainless steel
- 1. Corrosion resistance: Compared with other metals, stainless steel is particularly resistant to corrosion and rust, so it is very suitable for use in the kitchen. Food grade stainless steel is usually used in kitchen equipment, and its replacement cost is high. However, because most stainless steel grades have high corrosion resistance, you do not have to worry about frequent replacement of equipment.
- 2. Strength: Food grade stainless steel is strong and is an excellent material for heavy equipment or shelves used in storage areas.
- 3. Easy to clean: other materials (such as wood or plastic) have grooves or openings, bacteria can invade and grow. Stainless steel is smooth and does not provide a hiding place for bacteria, so you can easily remove it, which is essential for catering services.
- 4. Non-reactive surface: Stainless steel is a non-reactive metal, which means you can use it to cook acidic foods such as citrus, tomatoes and vinegar. Other metals (such as aluminum and iron) are reactive, and cooking acidic foods in these metals can affect the flavor and damage the metal surface.
What kinds of food grade stainless steel are there?
There are more than 150 varieties of stainless steel, each with different characteristics, which is why it is important to understand their changes. In the catering industry, it is also particularly important to distinguish between different types, because one type of food-grade stainless steel may be more suitable for a specific task. For example, if you are buying cookware that will come into contact with very salty food, a pot made of 316 stainless steel may be better than 304 due to its superior corrosion resistance. Understanding the differences between the grades and types of food-grade stainless steel can help ensure that you make an informed decision and buy the product that best suits your needs.
200 series stainless steel: Compared with other types of stainless steel, the 200 series stainless steel has lower quality and poor corrosion resistance. Because of the reasonable price, it can still have a place in commercial kitchens.
Best application: food storage container
304 series stainless steel: 304 stainless steel is the most commonly used type in the kitchen. Due to the high content of chromium and nickel, it has a bright luster. It is also very resistant to corrosion and rust, although it is prone to corrosion caused by exposure to salt.
Best application: kitchen utensils, internal parts, kitchen utensils, small tableware, tableware, preparation table
316 series stainless steel: This is the second most common type of stainless steel, and its alloy also contains a molybdenum element, which improves its resistance to corrosion caused by salt and other chemicals.
Best applications: kitchen equipment, Japanese barbecue grills, high-end cooking utensils, outdoor equipment and furniture, outdoor equipment used by the sea
430 series stainless steel: 430 stainless steel contains very little nickel and is not as corrosion resistant as 300 series steel. This type is also magnetic.
Best application: medium-quality tableware, preparation table, equipment door, cookware that can sense the pot
440 series stainless steel: 440 stainless steel has a high carbon content and is one of the strongest types used in the kitchen. Products made of 440 stainless steel are hard, corrosion-resistant, and durable.
Best application: high-quality chef’s knives, tableware, oven door handles, internal parts
13/0 stainless steel: 13/0 stainless steel is used to make knives. Because this steel contains less chromium and no nickel, it is softer and allows manufacturers to add serrations to the edges.
Best applications: fine dining restaurants, casual restaurants, hotels and banquet halls
18/0 stainless steel: 18/0 stainless steel is a medium-quality choice and one of the most affordable options. It is not as corrosion-resistant as high-end tableware, but it is magnetic. Because it is magnetic, it may be caught by magnets in conveyor belt dishwashers and trash cans, helping to prevent it from being discarded.
Best apps: canteens, cafeterias, catering companies, high-volume restaurants, nursing homes, casual restaurants, diners
18/8 stainless steel: 18/8 is one of the most common types of tableware. This stainless steel has a heavy, professional feel and is very corrosion resistant. Parts made of this stainless steel usually have some kind of decoration or design.
Best application: casual restaurants, high-end venues, hotels, catering companies, banquet halls, bistros, coffee shops
18/10 stainless steel: This is the highest quality tableware you can get. 18/10 has excellent corrosion resistance. In addition, such tableware usually has a unique and interesting design or carving on the handle.
Best application: high-end restaurants, bistros, hotels, banquet halls, catering companies, clubs