What is Mineral Oil?
Mineral Oil encompasses a wide variety of colourless, odourless mixtures of alkanes from a mineral source. It is a liquid by-product of refined crude oil to make gasoline and other petroleum products. It has a variety of names that correspond to the intended use of the oil including white oil, mineral oil, and paraffin oil. It has been used in industries such as cosmetics, industrial, factories, food, and pharmaceutical; pretty much everywhere.
Mineral Oil vs Food Grade Mineral Oil
Industrial grade mineral oil is considered crude and is not for use in food and pharmaceutical industries as it may contain many harmful additives not fit for consumption. To use them in the food industry, these oils need to be refined and purified to eliminate additives such as carcinogens that are considered harmful for human consumption. The refined mineral oil, in small amounts, is ‘generally recognized as safe’ (GRAS) food additives by agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) & the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Like any mineral oil, Food Grade Mineral Oils are colourless, tasteless, and odourless. These oils can be used in applications requiring direct food contact and where incidental food contact may occur.
What is Food Grade Mineral Oil used for?
When people think of oils in the kitchen, the most likely options are canola oil, corn oil, olive oil and sesame oil. Hardly anyone would stumble across a can of food grade mineral oil. That is unfortunate because food grade mineral oils have lots of uses in the kitchen.
Food grade Mineral Oils have great coating properties and can be used on both wood and metals.
Wood – Food Grade Mineral Oils have been found to have great oxidation properties. These oils can be used to coat wooden objects such as cutting boards, kitchen islands, salad bowls, etc. Once coated, the oil soaks into the wood and helps them stay in one piece by minimizing cracks and warps. It also has great water-repelling properties and does not let water seep into the wood, reducing the chances of staining and rot. It also helps to repel food odours by minimizing food liquid seepage.
Metals – Due to its great oxidation properties, Food Grade Mineral Oil can also be used to coat carbon steel knives, stainless-steel surfaces and other utensils. It forms a protective barrier on top of the surface and helps them resist rust and corrosion.
Release Agent – Food Grade White Mineral Oils contain great antioxidant properties and have been used as release agents in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. In the food industry, they are added in spices, condiments and nutrients intended for addition to food, excluding confectionery. In the bakery industry, they are used as lubricants and release agents. In the Pharmaceutical Industry, it has been used as a release agent in tablets and capsules.
Cosmetics – Food Grade Mineral Oil has been used in direct contact skin products such as hair oils, shampoo, suntan oils, cleaners and extenders.
Agriculture – Food Grade Mineral Oils are used as a dust control agent for grains such as wheat, rice, barley, soybean, rye, oats and corn.
We at Foodsafe Lubes supply the FoodSafe WO White Mineral Oil – 15,68 and the Foodsafe 3H White Oil Spray. These oils are both, NSF H1 and 3H approved i.e., in the event of a contamination, it is present in no more than 10 mg/kg of the foodstuff in question and does not cause any physiological hazard or affect the food’s odour and taste in any way.
Our Foodsafe WO White Mineral Oil – 15,68 is Kosher and Halal Certified and meets the requirements of regulations CFR 172.878 and CFR 178.3620A for direct food contact.
- European Heart Journal Supplements, Volume 22, Issue Supplement_J, October 2020, Pages J34–J48, https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/suaa117