The food industry puts a premium on hygiene. There’s no place for containers that harbor bacteria or affect the quality of food. The fast-paced nature of the industry also demands materials that are easy to maintain and clean.
It comes as no surprise, therefore, that stainless steel is the material of choice for many in the business. It’s corrosion-resistant and guarantees many years of service. Stainless steel products tolerate harsh environments and don’t affect the food it comes in contact with.
Resistance to Corrosion
Stainless steel is made of at least 10% chromium. The rest is composed of nickel, molybdenum, iron, manganese, and silicon.
When these elements (especially chromium) react with oxygen, they form a thin film of metal oxides and hydroxides. This acts as a barrier between the oxygen and the metals underneath, preventing rust. This is the reason stainless steel can store a huge amount of food and water without corroding.
Stainless steel has a smooth surface — it has no pores or cracks that could accumulate food particles and harbor bacteria. Additionally, soap and water are all it takes to clean its surfaces. The food industry, where time is of the essence, appreciates this cleanliness.
The metal is also tough, so people can rest assured that it would maintain its smooth and easy-to-clean surface for a long time.
Tolerant of Harsh Environments
Food production involves a wide range of temperatures. Most stainless-steel grades can withstand temperatures as low as -269°C and as high as 870°C. They also withstand shock and abrasion.
Stainless steel can handle food items that have very spicy ingredients and strong coloring agents, which damage fragile containers. It also resists acids and alkalis produced by vegetables and additives.
Preserving Product Purity
Food facilities invest heavily in keeping their produce fresh. Stainless steel does a very good job at this — even at very high or low temperatures, it doesn’t affect the taste, smell, or appearance of the food it touches.
These characteristics make stainless steel the ideal material for manufacturing, storing, and transporting food. In fact, common kitchen utensils, such as syrup tanks, beer kegs, food ice cream molds, and knives are made from various grades of steel. These, after all, reduce the chances of food contamination, tolerate extreme environments, and offer many years of service.