CPCA member Tnemec is giving a series of webinars on this topic this year on compliance for coatings, linings and floors in regulated plants.
Although approved Food & Drug Administration (FDA) versus the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) coatings are both used in food and beverage facilities, they are not the same and mixing them up can have significant implications. So, what’s the difference between the two coatings? When considering the differences, it becomes clear that FDA-approved and USDA-approved coatings are far from one in the same.
Permissions for Coatings Use: Technically speaking, all FDA-approved coatings are also USDA-approved coatings. However, the reverse is not accurate nor valid—and it is crucial to make this distinction. Placing a USDA-approved coating in direct contact with a food commodity could have serious consequences, including potential legal repercussions.
Level of Testing Required: FDA approval has nothing to do with potable water service, as a coating must be ANSI/NSF 61 tested and certified for potable water service in the United States. Frequently, the same generic type of coating is compatible with both FDA and USDA services. Epoxy coatings are the most common coatings used for FDA-approved linings, followed by polyurethanes. In fact, polyurethane cement technology is currently taking the food and beverage resinous flooring market by storm. At the same time, epoxies continue to be a mainstay of USDA-approved coatings—proving to be the most widely used floor coating in the world.