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 (AGA)

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

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 ?

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

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 (AGA)

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.

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