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What is a Food Grade Hose?

What is a Food Grade Hose?

Do you need to transport or convey food or beverages via a hose? Then not just any ordinary hose will do. You’ll need a food-grade hose. But what exactly is one? Well, keep reading and The Hosemaster team will tell you everything you need to know about food-grade hoses…

Food-grade hose definition

A food-grade hose (also known as a food-grade tube, or more simply, a food hose), is a type of hose that’s used specifically for the conveyance of food and drink products like grains, flour, spices, beer and water.

A good quality food-grade hose will not merely transport food and drink, but it will preserve the food and drink’s quality and integrity as it does so.

Food-grade hoses are made from materials which are approved for use with foods and liquids. In the US, food-grade hoses must be made from materials which are FDA-approved.

In the UK and Europe, food-grade hoses must be made from materials that adhere to (EU) No.10/2011 and (EC) No.1935/2004, which set out standards for food contact applications. Food hoses that are going to be used for the transfer of drinking water must be NSF51 and NSF61 approved too.

In practical terms, food-grade hoses need to be made from materials that don’t impart any smell or taste to the foods and liquids that are conveyed through them.

Where are food-grade hoses used?

Food-grade hoses can be found in use anywhere that food and drink needs to be transported from one point to another.

As such, you’ll not only find food hoses in food processing plants, but in other environments such as pubs, restaurants and breweries too.

Food hoses can also be found in use in the pharmaceutical industry thanks to their ability to convey materials without imparting a smell or flavour to them.

What are food-grade hoses made from?

Because food hoses need to be flexible, durable, easy to clean and able to maintain pressure, they tend to be manufactured from one of four types of material; polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), EPDM rubber and polyurethane.

We’ve detailed the individual characteristics of each of these four materials below.

General Purpose Food Quality PVC Suction and Delivery Hose

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Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) food hoses

Polyvinyl chloride (more commonly known as PVC), is one of the most common materials used for food hoses, as PVC is both light and highly durable. PVC can withstand a broad range of temperatures, from -20ºC to +60ºC.

PVC hoses are used widely for the conveyance of drinks and liquids, but are not usually used for the transport of fatty foods, as these food types require a heavier grade hose material.

Many of the PVC food hoses that we stock here at The Hosemaster are clear, so that you’ll be able to see what’s in the tube at a glance.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) food hoses

PTFE is another material which has found widespread use in the manufacture of food hoses. This is because PTFE is a highly-durable and strong material, able to withstand temperatures ranging from -70ºC and +260ºC.

PTFE food hoses also tend to be the easiest to clean, but this benefit is offset for many people by the higher cost of this type of hose.

EPDM rubber food hoses

EPDM rubber (also known by the rather wordy ‘ethylene propylene diene monomer’), is a type of synthetic rubber which is both extremely durable and flexible, and able to retain its integrity across a broad range of temperatures, in some cases being as broad as -35ºC to +95ºC.

EPDM rubber food hoses also have excellent resistance to both ozone and light, making them ideal for the conveyance of a wide range of foodstuffs.

Here at The Hosemaster, we stock EPDM rubber food hoses that are ideal for a range of industries including brewing and dairy.

Polyurethane food hoses

If you need to convey fatty or abrasive foods from one point to another, then you’ll want to use a food-grade hose made from polyurethane. This is because polyurethane has a molecular structure that is particularly hard and resistant to wear, with excellent abrasion and impact resistance.

You can expect a quality polyurethane food hose to have a temperature operating range of -40ºC to +90ºC.

Can you get reinforced food hoses?

Yes. In order to make them more durable and long-lasting, many food hose manufacturers will reinforce their hoses in a number of different ways.

The different ways that food-grade hoses can be reinforced include:

  • High-tensile textile cord.
  • Steel wire.
  • PVC spiral.

What to look for in a food-grade hose

With all of the above information in mind, what should you be looking for in a food-grade hose?

Whilst there are some properties you’ll need to look for in niche use cases, in general you will want your food hose to embody the qualities that are detailed below.

Liquid Food Milk Suction and Delivery Hose

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Flexible and kink resistant

For the majority of food and drink applications, you’ll need your food hose to be flexible and kink resistant. The last thing you want is for a food hose to become kinked, disrupting the flow of food/drink.

Abrasion resistant

As food hoses can be used for the conveyance of rough foodstuffs such as grains and granules, it’s important that you select a food-grade hose which is highly resistant.

Should a food-grade hose not be able to withstand abrasion, then you’ll quickly find that it cracks and leaks.

If you know you’ll be conveying rough foodstuffs, it’s a good idea to use a reinforced food-grade hose.

Odour resistant

As we mentioned earlier, in order to be compliant with the relevant regulations, food-grade hoses for sale in the UK must be odour resistant.

This means that they won't give the food and drink that passes through them a plastic type smell.

Whilst it may be tempting to use a cheaper, standard PVC hose, you’ll quickly regret it as it will almost certainly contaminate your foodstuffs or liquids.

Chemical resistant

Should you be looking to transport fatty or acidic foodstuffs, then you’ll want to make sure that your food hoses are chemical resistant.

Chemical resistant food hoses are ideal for environments such as food processing plants where they will have to withstand considerable abuse.

Temperature resistant

Food hoses often find themselves used in locations where fluctuations in temperature are common.

Whether it’s a food processing plant that goes from chilly in the morning to hot in the afternoon, or a brewery where it’s perpetually cold, it’s important that the food hose you select can operate within a broad temperature range.

Pick up the perfect food hose at The Hosemaster

We hope you’ve found our guide to food-grade hoses useful. If it’s made you start thinking about your own food hose requirements, then check out the extensive range of food-grade hoses that we keep in stock here at The Hosemaster.

Shop food-grade hoses at The Hosemaster now

For more buying guides, information and advice, read The Hosemaster blog


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