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About Food safety

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Matheo Stravlas, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Matheo Stravlas

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    Is there a way to know wich one of PLA filament is food safe? Beside trying to eat something with it and see if my kid end up at the hospital.
    Those on the robo website for exemple ? I don't see information about that .

    Thanks :)
    Tom
     
  2. Mike Kelly

    Mike Kelly Volunteer

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    Natural PLA is the best bet for food safe PLA. Colored would probably be OK as well, but the dye they use might not be food safe. Best way to know for certain is to go with natural if they don't specify.

    PLA in general is food safe as it's polylactic acid, a derivative of sugars. It's commonly used in clear plastic cups.
     
  3. Peter Krska

    Peter Krska Active Member

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    If you search google the consensus is that there are too many nooks and crannies in the plastic that bacteria will grow in there. Not good for food safe.

    Found some good info on this site: http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?1,164077,168351

    And you won't be putting the PLA thingy in the dishwasher also.
     
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  4. Mike Kelly

    Mike Kelly Volunteer

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    You could do it as a one time thing, but yes would be almost impossible to clean.
     
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  5. polylac

    polylac New Member

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    there are other threads in the forum about this already.

    a problem is the rough surface so after using it you have a paradise for bacteria.
    so maybe is better to coat it anyway.
     
  6. Matheo Stravlas

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    Sorry, I didn't saw the other threads and found informations about pla kind of confusing.
    Expecially some times ago when I saw the buccaneer kickstarter campaign who clearly advertise about eating with the stuff you make with the printer ( at 1m15)

    Anyway thanks for the answer :)
     
  7. polylac

    polylac New Member

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    you can eat, but plastic is never the best choice in the kitchen.
    not because of the plastic (in most cases) but because of bacteria etc. that will grow in tiny holes and cracks.
    a closed surface is better, it will then be like other plastic things you have in the kitchen
    with ABS you can close the surface with a slurry, with PLA I don't know, except coating it with silicone ( a guide is here warnig NSFW http://makerlove.com/Surface-finish/index.html )

    however plastic even if you buy it in the store, is not a good idea in the kitchen. while cleaning you scratch the surface, or while eating, and every scratch is a place to be for (bad) bacteria.

    I'd use it for dry stuff only. Like a plate for fruits, or a cup holder, just thing that are not meant to get dirty and don't need to get cleaned often.
    And for single-use I think is not worth the work and time on a 3d-printer, i'ts much cheaper to buy it from the store...
     
  8. Matheo Stravlas

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    Thanks :) The link is ... pretty surprising .
     
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  9. BenMac

    BenMac Member

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    I apologize for raising an old thread back to life, but it seemed like the best place to ask my question. And hopefully will help others through the answers given.

    I was wondering if this Maker Geeks "food Safe" PLA is any better than this Natural PLA filament from Amazon?

    Basically, I am hoping to print out some cookie cutters, but I want to be as safe as possible. If I wash the cookie cutters thoroughly, would that make them ok to use? I know there are crevices and such, but I would hope that a good cleaning should kill almost everything.
    Is there a filament that you would suggest for this purpose, will just about any filament do, or will it just not work no matter what?
     
  10. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    Short answer: Use any filament you want, but coat it with something food safe or use it only once.

    To be perfectly blunt, MakerGeeks is generally full of it. They are more than a little bit hyperbolic with their marketing. Dig around the internet a little bit to find their press release from when they bought their extrusion line. 'The only high volume extrusion in the US.' LOL.

    Any number of filaments are food safe as materials, which just means that the materials themselves are registered with the FDA for food contact. This is more of a legal thing than an actual food safety thing. Realistically, other than some of the metal fills (which you wouldn't use for something like that anyways) anything is going to be nontoxic for low duration non-heated food contact like that.

    The issue comes from the process. The brass nozzles contain trace amounts of lead. Personally, this doesn't concern me as the amounts are tiny and really aren't going to transfer unless you're using abrasive filament, but use your own judgement.

    The more significant concern is cleanability. Try this. Print something up in white filament, then color it with a washable marker. Maybe let it sit for a little bit to give the marker time to be dry, but still washable. Now try to clean it. You'll find that it is nearly impossible to get every trace of marker out. Same thing happens with food. All that food that you can't get out becomes a nice place to grow bacteria. However, if you coat it with something this becomes a non-issue.
     
  11. BenMac

    BenMac Member

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    Cool, thank you, that was extremely useful info. :)

    You have got to love businesses that over promise, or just can't seem to tell the truth.

    What are some materials that you, or others have used for coating the printed items? Are you suggesting some sort of epoxy, plastic wrap, or olive oil?

    I know these should be a given, but I like to have confirmation.
     
  12. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    There is a difference between 'safe', 'acceptable'/'appropriate' and 'functional' :)
     
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  13. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    Personally, I wash them and reuse without coating, but I have also been known to eat off the floor. Iron stomach? Not so much. Just an area where I don't learn.

    If you go to smooth-on.com, you can find food safe silicones. This is a great option. Vapor polished ABS or XT is also perfectly fine, but some people get squirmy around the ABS. Stick with natural colors.
     
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  14. Amanda Galiano

    Amanda Galiano New Member

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    For just cookie cutters, I wouldn't worry too much. The time contact with the food is pretty limited and the cookies will be heated, so in theory any bacteria should be killed and my educated guess would be that transfer toxins from the printer (including machine oils and lead) would be very limited. You also usually spray them with some sort of cooking spray or oil before you use them, which would limit the contact. It's different than a cup or a plate where cookie food will be in contact for a long time.

    I'm not saying one should advertise them for sale as "food safe." Just saying, of all the potentially bacteria laden things people do in their kitchen, I would be less afraid of using a 3d printed cookie cutter than say, a sponge used to wash dishes or a lemon at a restaurant, and when's the last time you really cleaned your mixer head? If you take a swab to your kitchen and culture some areas, you'd probably lick the cookie cutter afterwards (or never eat again).
     
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  15. BenMac

    BenMac Member

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    Cool, thank you for your answers and suggestions, they help a lot. :)
     

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