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Copely Developments Ltd
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Ultimate Guide to Food Grade Hoses

Copely has a wide range of food grade hoses, able to cater to a number of applications. But what is a food grade hose? What properties set them apart from standard hoses? What applications are they used for? The following guide has been written with the most common questions regarding food grade hoses in mind.

pvc food safe hose application

What Is a Food Grade Hose?

A food grade hose (or food grade tube) is used in the transfer and conveyance of food products, such as seeds, granules, beer and water. They are used in a wide variety of applications in order to prevent contamination of the product.

What Makes a Hose Food Safe?

In order to be approved for use, food quality hoses must meet a number of standards. One of the most common is that they must be FDA-approved. The FDA sets a standard that the materials incorporated into the hose (e.g. plasticisers) must meet.

Another common standard is that the materials must be EN No 10/2011 compliant for food contact applications. Similar to this, food safe water hoses must also be NSF51 + NSF61 approved for the transfer of drinking water.

Our food grade hoses are marked with a food quality logo, in both our product guide and on our website, making your search easier. Keep an eye out for this logo when looking for a food grade hose in our range.

Is PVC Food Safe?

PVC can be food safe. However, it must meet a number of standards in order to be deemed so. Standard PVC can contain things such as phthalates (a synthetic chemical used in hose manufacturing) which can leach from the hose and into the product it is conveying.

PVC is one of the most common types of materials used for the manufacture of food grade hoses. PVC tends to be tasteless and odourless, which makes it ideal, unlike other hose materials which can transfer smells or tastes to the product.

What Are the Properties of Food Grade Hoses?

The design of food grade hoses can vary, depending on the application. However, a majority of food safe hoses and tubes share similar properties:

  • Flexibility – Flexibility is a must for any food grade tubing. A majority of applications will require a hose or tube to be flexible and kink resistant. A food grade flexible hose will provide durability and ease of handling.
  • Abrasion resistance – Since food grade hoses are often used in the conveyance of a solid product, the hose needs to be resistant to abrasions in order to prevent cracking and leakage. Some of our more heavy-duty food grade hoses contain an internal stainless-steel helix, to prevent the hose from being crushed or kinked.
  • Odour resistance – When dealing with applications involving the transfer of food and drink, it’s important that the hose or tubing does not transfer any smells or tastes to the product being conveyed. A standard PVC hose runs the risk of contamination, whereas a food grade hose made from odour resistant PVC is ideal.
food grade hose food dairy application
  • Chemical resistance – Food safe hoses also tend to benefit from a higher chemical resistance than standard PVC hoses, making them better suited for heavy-duty applications such as food processing plants.
  • Temperature resistance – Hoses that are food safe can also be capable of withstanding high temperatures. ThermoFlex is a high temp food grade hose, able to withstand temperatures up to 70oC, whilst our suction and discharge food grade hoses can handle temperatures as low as -40oC without losing their flexibility.
  • Pressure resistance – Food grade hoses are also able to withstand higher amounts of pressure, unlike standard PVC which can weaken over time.

What Are the Best Applications for Food Grade Hoses?

Food grade hoses are versatile and can be used for a wide variety of applications. Our own food grade hoses are ideal for the applications below:

  • Drinking water applications – Some of the most common applications for food grade tubing involve the conveyance of drinking water. This can range from anything from drink dispensers in restaurants to drinking fountains in schools. Our Aquavend Unreinforced is a food grade water hose, designed primarily for drinking water applications.
  • Food industry applications – Obviously one of the biggest markets for food grade hoses is the food industry. These hoses are ideal for food processing, conveying a number of products from seeds to grains. Our food grade suction hose, Superclear, is the ideal fit for this kind of application. It is fully transparent, allowing for quick and easy inspection on production lines. A food grade clear hose allows the product to be seen directly even when being processed, meaning that production does not need to be halted.
food grade water hose application

Caravan/marine applications – Food grade hoses can be used in caravans or boats to fill onboard water tanks. They can also be used to collect drinking water from an on-site tap. Aquavend Reinforced PVC is a food grade hose for caravan sites, motorhomes, and boats. It is made from odourless and taint-free specialist materials, making it ideal for these kinds of applications, unlike standard PVC hoses which can taint the drinking water.

Animal farming applications – Hoses that are food safe can also be used for the distribution of seeds, grain and other food materials to livestock. The Food Grade Delivery Hose in our suction and discharge range is ideal for this type of application. Whilst tough and flexible, it is also able to withstand colder working conditions (down to -40oC) without losing its flexibility, making it suitable for outdoor use as well as indoor.

Are Garden Hoses Food Safe?

Are garden hoses safe for drinking water? This is a common question, and the answer is that generally unless otherwise stated, garden hoses are not deemed safe for drinking water.

Garden hoses can still hold onto water, even after use. If the garden hose is also left out in the sun, the warmth can cause a build-up of bacteria inside the hose.

Is it safe to drink water from a garden hose?

Depending on the manufacturer, cheaper PVC garden hoses can also contain lead, which can cause health issues, even with low doses. Cheaper garden hoses can also contain phthalates, which can be transferred to the plant life, lawn, or crops being grown in the garden.

When selecting a garden hose, it’s important to make sure it is phthalate-free or DEPH-free, so nothing harmful can be transferred from the hose to the garden.

We offer a wide range of food grade hoses for a number of industries and applications, making it easier than ever to find the right product for you and your application. Our entire range of food grade hoses can be found here. If you have already found what you are looking for, please feel free to contact a member of our sales team for a free quote.