What is the Best Grade of Stainless Steel for the Food Industry?
Materials used to create equipment and machinery for the food and catering industry must meet strict hygiene standards. Stainless steel is corrosion resistant and is easy to clean and maintain making it the most obvious choice for these sectors. So, what is the best grade of stainless steel for the food industry?
316 Stainless Steel
Grade 316 is a step above grade 304. 316 has the addition of molybdenum and a slightly higher nickel content compared to 304. This results in 316 stainless steel having increased corrosion resistance in many aggressive environments. This grade of stainless steel has a greater resistance than other grades at a range of temperatures, both sub-zero and higher temperatures.
More information about the chemical make up and performance of 316 stainless steel can be found at the below link.
316 is classed as ‘food grade’ due to its high resistance to acids, alkalis, and chlorides such as table salt. This grade of stainless steel is not affected by pitting corrosion like other austenitic stainless steels (i.e. 304) making it suitable for most applications.
430 Stainless Steel
Grade 430 is a ferritic stainless steel with low-carbon and plain chromium. The steel has relatively good corrosion resistance and good resistance to oxidation and sulphurs at higher temperatures. As the steel does not contain nickel or molybdenum, it is cheaper than any of the 300 series steels.
More information about the chemical make up and performance of 430 stainless steel can be found at the below link.
430 stainless steel has a high tolerance to organic and nitric acids and is therefore used in contact to acidic foods.
Comparing Grades of Stainless Steel
The below video gives an easy to understand comparison of 4 common grades of stainless steel used in the food and catering industry.
We recently fabricated a made to measure splashback in 430 stainless steel for a local Café’s kitchen area. Stainless steel splashbacks are hardwearing, easy to clean and hygienic. These are generally used in commercial kitchens but there is no reason you can’t have a stainless steel splashback at home. They can withstand different cleaning chemicals, food splashes don’t stain and they are fire resistant making them suitable for behind hobs.