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NSF vs FDA: What's the difference?
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NSF vs FDA: What's the Difference?

For years our industry relied on FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations to select a mold release, rust preventive, cleaner and lubricant. Over the past few years a new company, NSF, has expanded to test products and present its own recommendations. As a result there has been confusion over what a molder should use when molding products with food packaging applications or medical.

FDA vs Food Approved

There is and never was an FDA approval designation. The FDA sets rules and guidelines regarding appropriate material composition, properties and uses.

A material meeting FDA standards is FDA compliant. FDA standards cover conditions of use like temperature, food type and whether that material is suitable for either single use or repeated contact. It is the end user’s responsibility to use each material in such a way that it is conforms to FDA rules. “Food safe” and “food contact safe” are generally understood to imply FDA compliant.

Then there is the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR.) This is a set of rules published by the US Government. FDA uses Title 21 of the CFR. Wettable surfaces of materials need to be compliant with the appropriate sections of CFR Title 21.


NSF International is an independent, non-governmental organization. It has been usually associated with direct and indirect drinking water additives. However, in the past few years it has expanded into food safety.

It should be noted that simply having an NSF logo on a product does not imply the product is safe for any food application. NSF breaks out its testing and recommendations in sub-categories, such as non-food compounds. NSF H1 is for lubricants that are recommended for general/incidental food contact. NSF M1 is used for Mold Releases, which would be used in food packaging applications.

NSF requires that if a product has been tested and is using the NSF logo it cannot also use the CFR Title 21 regulations on the product packaging.

If your research into which designations are suitable for your mold release, cleaner, lubricant and rust preventive, contact Slide Products. Their technical staff can help guide you to the best solutions for your situation.

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