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For most foods, contact with galvanized steel is perfectly safe. Only acidic foods should not come in contact with galvanized steel according the the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The acid in some foods reacts with the zinc coating to form salts that are readily absorbed by the body and in excess could cause a very mild sickness. So, where is galvanized steel used in food production operations? There are two primary and distinct areas, for the structural supports of a building, such as a bakery or slaughterhouse, and for trays, racks, conveyor, freezers, refrigerators, and counter-tops in direct contact with the food. Qualifying all of this discussion is the fact zinc is a necessary part of our RDA, approximately 15 mg should be a part of your daily intake. 

For more detailed information, please review this Dr. Galv article on HDG in Contact with Food


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Comments

Heath Watd

I have galvanized metal protecting my grill burners from dripping. The plates sit directly over burners but are not in direct contact with the food. Is there any danger in this? Thanks im advance.

Alana Hochstein

Hi Heath, It is unlikely the drip tray will be exposed to: (1) short term temps above 450F, (2) long term to temperatures above 392 F, (3) direct flames. Therefore, it can be a suitable application if acidic foods are avoided.

Razieh

Hi I want to Know that if a galvanize be painted or coated with lacquer or lamination, can be safe for food can? will be safe? Thanks

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Razieh, If the galvanizing is covered with a lacquer or lamination, then the food will no longer be in direct contact with the galvanized coating until the lacquer or laminate coating has worn or become damaged. For questions regarding food in contact with lacquer or lamination, please the contact respective manufacturer.

Jennifer

I want to use galvanized wash basins for washing dishes and a galvanzied water pitcher for filling the wash basin and watering indoor plants. Is there a risk of toxicity in doing this? I would like to decrease use of plastics in my every day life and hope to replace it in many areas by using galvanized. Thanks.

Ramees

In most of the oven toaster grill appliances, inside cavity is made up of galvanized steel. Doesn’t it cause any harm as the same is exposed to temperatures to the tune of 230 deg C ?

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Jennifer, The coating is made from zinc which is naturally found in soil and this application will not harm the plants.

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Ramees. No, galvanized metal can withstand long-term, continuous exposure up to 392 F (200 C), or short-term usage of approximately 660 F (350 C).

Lou

Hi I have built a cold smoking unit out of a square piece of galv tubing. It works by heating up (burning) wood chips in the galv tubing and backdrafting the smoke into a chamber using a small air pump. I have read various articles that say when galv is being heated it releases toxic fumes it is not safe to consume food that has been smoked using this method. For this reason I have not used it as yet. what is your opinion?

Alana Hochstein

Hi Lou, Hot-dip galvanized metal can withstand long-term, continuous exposure up to 392 F (200 C), or short-term usage of approximately 660 F (350 C), and temperatures above these should be avoided to ensure integrity of the coating. Overexposure to zinc or zinc oxide in fumes can cause metal fume fever, which causes temporary flu-like symptoms but is not known to cause permanent issue. Zinc metal should be avoided in contact with acidic foods.

Tara

I have picked up galvanized tubs ( for pasta salad) and galvanized serving trays for veggie and cheese trays for our wedding! Is it safe to put food into it or is there something we can get to put in side of it? Also would fruit be safe in it?

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Tara, As mentioned in the article, acidic foods (fruit, some cheeses, etc.) should not come in contact with galvanized steel according the the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Non acidic foods are ok in contact with galvanized steel.

Brian

Hi, just picked up some tables that are wrapped in galv. I intend to use these for pizza pep, mainly stretching the dough. Seems like this should be ok but thought I'd ask to confirm. Also is galv just a coating that could be sanded off? Thanks for the help.

Tami

We are having an open house. We have 2 galvanized drinking containers. We were going to use for lemonade and tea. Is this ok?

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Brian, Bread dough is slightly acidic, but the food will be in contact for a very short amount of time. The galvanized coating layers are harder than the base steel -- if the hot-dip galvanized coating is removed, then bare steel will be exposed instead. Hi Tami, Highly acidic foods such as lemonade and most teas should not come in contact with galvanized steel according the the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Tami, Highly acidic foods such as lemonade and most teas should not come in contact with galvanized steel according the the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Meghan

Hi, I just bought a galvanized steel beverage dispenser. My plan is to use it to store filtered drinking water. Is it safe to store water in the dispenser?

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Meghan, HDG is suitable for potable water. Only acidic foods should not come in contact with galvanized steel according the the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information: https://galvanizeit.org/hot-dip-galvanizing/how-long-does-hdg-last/in-water

Joseph Madden

Would burning charcoal on a piece of sheet metal cause any problems?

Emily

I'm wondering about long term storage. I have a bunch of wheat that I'm keeping in my basement. There are galv steel buckets that are advertised for pet food storage or seeds, etc. Is there something different about pet standards vs people food standards? Is it safe to store my wheat in galv steel buckets?

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Joseph, Hot-dip galvanized steel can withstand long-term, continuous exposure up to 392 F (200 C), or short-term usage of approximately 660 F (350 C), and temperatures above these should be avoided to ensure integrity of the coating. Typically, temperature of burning coals can range above these temperatures.

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Emily, As mentioned in the article, acidic foods should not come in contact with galvanized steel according the the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Non acidic foods and dry foods are ok in contact with galvanized steel.

Kechia

I brought some galvanized drink dispensers and I plan to use then to store liquid laundry detergent. Are these safe to use for laundry detergent?

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Kechia, Galvanized steel can be used to store many chemicals of moderate pH. The contact of detergent with galvanized steel may not cause harm, but check the container periodically in case you a working with a very basic (high pH) laundry detergent that would cause significant wear of the coating (and eventual rusting) over time. For more detailed information: https://galvanizeit.org/hot-dip-galvanizing/how-long-does-hdg-last/in-chemical-solutions

Arash

For growing microgreens indoor, I want to make trays with the galvanized sheet. In fact, I will fill the trays with potting soil and grow broccoli, wheatgrass and etc. I concern about toxicity with zinc because my potting soil is a bit acidic. What is your opinion? Also, due to the permanent moisture, will NOT it rust during the time? (I only access to cold-galvanized sheets) Best Regards

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Arash, Zinc is commonly used in agriculture projects, and is not typically harmful to the plants and soil. For more information, see our website and white paper on hot-dip galvanizing's contribution to Zinc levels in the soil: https://galvanizeit.org/hot-dip-galvanizing/what-is-zinc/zinc-and-the-environment Performance and longevity of the galvanized coating will depend on the soil properties. For more information on how to determine performance in soil, see the following page on our website: https://galvanizeit.org/hot-dip-galvanizing/how-long-does-hdg-last/in-soil

Razieh

Hi Christine Kleen, I am Razieh. could you please send me a standard for your opinion about non-acidic and dry food that prove laminate or epoxy phenolice is safe for cans food (body and easy open end)?

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Razieh, Here at the American Galvanizers Association, we only deal in batch hot-dip galvanized coatings. Please contact the coating manufacturers directly or the FDA for food safety information on these coatings.

Brad

I am building an oven is galvanize sheet metal ok to use to build the oven Plse lmk building today

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Brad, Hot-dip galvanized steel can withstand long-term, continuous exposure up to 392 F (200 C), or short-term usage of approximately 660 F (350 C), and temperatures above these should be avoided to ensure integrity of the coating. Typically, temperature of burning coals or direct flames can range above these temperatures. As mentioned in the article, acidic foods should not come in contact with galvanized steel according the the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Non acidic foods are ok in contact with galvanized steel.

Jane Joseph

Greetings Can I bake cakes in a galvanized cake pan

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Jane, most cake batters are slightly acidic, and acidic foods should not come in contact with galvanized steel according the the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Enid

I bought a huge antipasto round flat "lazy susan" type turntable that has wood around the edges and the entire center portion is made of a thin steel that doesn't seem to be coated...made in India. I will be putting salami, ham, other cold cuts, many cheeses, vegetables, fruits, nuts, crackers and other foods directly on the metal for the antipasto. Is it okay to do this with these food items mentioned or can the foods become toxic or somewhat harmful??

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Enid, if the material is galvanized, then it should not come into contact with acidic foods such as many antipasto foods (fruits, some cured meats, etc.). Please contact the US Food and Drug Administration directly for information on food in contact with bare steel or other metals.

Gloria Muleady

Hello, I just bought a three tiered galvazine tray. Is it safe to put lettuce/kale/cabbage and or other greens directly on it? Thanks, Gloria

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Gloria, Yes, only acidic foods should be avoided in contact.

Paul

Hi, I make wine and the galvanized steel wire I use to lift the floating lids looks highly corroded. The wire was left inside the wine vat but not in direct contact with my wine. There is a strong odour but I don't know if the wine is now safe to drink, any ideas?

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Hi Paul, Galvanized steel is not recommended in direct contact with acidic food/drink such as wine. If the galvanized wire is rusting (red rust), then the coating has likely been consumed (replacement or change of material required).

Tim

so it's not ok to boil water to make instant gravy ?

Jon Meyers

I am building a home smoker out of an old ice box which is 24 x 48 inches tall. The metal is galvanized and in excellent condition. I will use stainless steel oven racks to place the meat on, and the propane flame will be at least 10 inches from the walls of the smoker. Temperatures used will routinely not rise above 300 F. Acidic juices from cooking will splatter on the sidewalls of the box, but will not make contact with food. Is there any risk in using this re-purposed galvanized kitchen item from yesterday in a new incarnation as a home smoker? I imagine that the entire inside of the smoker will soon be covered with a burnt patina like a cast iron pan very soon.

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Tim Hot-dip galvanized steel can withstand long-term, continuous exposure up to 392 F (200 C), or short-term usage of approximately 660 F (350 C), and temperatures above these should be avoided to ensure integrity of the coating. Often times heating of items on a stove can reach 600 F or more. Jon, If the hot dip galvanizing is not in direct contact with the stainless steel, and does not come into contact with acidic juices, and is not heated regularly above 392F, then this could potentially be suitable.

Carol Justice

I have salt shakers. Is it safe to use for salt and pepper. They are galvanized and no lineing.

George

I get that acidic food should not be consumed after being in contact with galvanized steel, but how does the steel fair. I’m considering getting a table with galvanized legs and under shelf at a pizza restaurant. If sauce gets on the legs occasionally (assume there for a day) will that damage the finish?

Aaro Bills

My name is Mr Aaron Bills. I will like to purchase Fruits Cup Dispensers? What are the prices including tax? These are going to be picked up from your store location when they're ready for pick up. Does that affect the pricing? Please advise. Regards. Aaron Bills. Aaron's $ Wife Ltd 13425 Wyandotte St. North Hollywood, CA 91605

Alana Hochstein (AGA)

Carol, Yes salt and pepper in the absence of moisture can be used in contact with galvanized steel. George, Occasional contact with most food is not going to rapidly damage the galvanized coating. Depending on the acidity and length of time it remains it could also darken the surface. You can clean the galvanized steel according to the instructions on our site, but be aware that scrubbing and cleaning products can potentially alter the appearance (make it dull). Aaron, We do not sell fruit cup dispensers - we only deal in the processing and performance of batch hot-dip galvanized steel. Please contact the seller of the product you wish to buy directly.

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