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I am required to paint the top of an industrial cooler with a colored lacquer spray paint. I must also apply a finish on top of the paint that is food safe (NSF 61). Can anybody tell me what finish to use, or offer any recommendations? (The cooler itself is made of polyethylene, if that is relevant.)

Thanks!
 

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I don't think those will work. Mineral oil needs to soak in, so the paint won't allow this. and the paraffin would not stick to the paint either. Maybe there is a food safe paint.
 

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You would use regular linseed oil; NOT boiled linseed oil. Boiled linseed oil has metallic dryers in it that make it dry quickly; in a few days instead of a month. These are nasty metals which you don't want to ingest. Regular linseed oil will take a long time to dry, but you can eat the stuff if you want, so it's food safe.

Regular linseed oil is what woodworkers use to finish wooden food related items like wooden salad bowls, salad forks and spoons that they make.

Actually, ANY drying oil in it's natural state should be food safe. So, you should also be able to use Tung oil if you can find it without metallic dryers already in it. Also, try any art supply stores for walnut oil or poppy seed oil, which is what artists who like to work in oils use. I think safflower oil is also an art medium. I don't know why artists prefer walnut and poppy seed oil to linseed oil, but if these more expensive oils dry faster or yellow less, they may be worth the effort of obtaining for this job.

So far as I know, mineral oil is used on wooden cutting boards and "butcher blocks", but my understanding is that studies have shown that unfinished porous wood cutting boards don't have any more living bacteria on them than plastic high density polyethylene cutting boards. My understanding of the reason for that is that wood absorbs moisture which bacteria need to thrive and multiply. Basically, wood's absorbtion of water makes a wood cutting board the equivalent of the Sahara desert for a bacterium. So, even though wood cutting boards get all cut up and you can't clean them as effectively as a plastic cutting board, they're just as safe to use. But, that's only what I've been told on DIY Q&A forums like this one, and I'm no expert on the subject.
 

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I think all you guys are way over-thinking this - paraffin oil, mineral oil, raw or boiled linseed oil may all be approved for incidental contact with food products, but apply any of these oils over a lacquer coating and your results are going to be iffy at best...as ToolSeeker said, these products need to penetrate to perform properly.

I'm concerned why a "lacquer spray paint" was recommended in the first place? If they needed a product approved for incidental food contact, why didn't they spec such a product in the first place...and why a lacquer spray? For adhesion to PE plastic? ...that's kinda dumb. Which begs the question, why are they painting PE plastic anyway? What type of preparation was spec'd? Any plastic adhesion promoters? If they are insisting on "food safe" products, why wasn't a specific brand and system recommended? This presents a liability issue you may not want to shoulder all by yourself.

There are many USDA approved coatings (for food contact, direct or incidental) on the market...these are not necessarily exotic coatings or "natural" products. For food contact, it isn't the composition of the product entirely...it is whether the dried, cured film poses any threat of contamination to foods.

So...going back to my first paragraph - why the lacquer spray? All discussion of food safe coatings are moot if the lacquer doesn't adhere to the PE plastic. And whether the final coating is food-safe or not, the last thing you need to be responsible for, but ultimately could be, is peeling paint that may enter into the food production or storage stream.
 

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Ric:

I kinda disagree. I don't disagree with the points you make. I disagree with the position you're taking.

The OP knows the situation better than any of us and can see for himself whether there's any possibility of the stuff he uses getting into the food. He is being told what to do by either his employer or his superior, and it's not our place to be asking him to explain himself to our satisfaction. He may not know himself why he's being asked to use a coloured lacquer spray paint, but it may not be his place to be questioning that decision.

What's wrong with just answering his question?
 

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Ric:

I kinda disagree. I don't disagree with the points you make. I disagree with the position you're taking.

The OP knows the situation better than any of us and can see for himself whether there's any possibility of the stuff he uses getting into the food. He is being told what to do by either his employer or his superior, and it's not our place to be asking him to explain himself to our satisfaction. He may not know himself why he's being asked to use a coloured lacquer spray paint, but it may not be his place to be questioning that decision.

What's wrong with just answering his question?
but it SHOULD be, he will be the final link in the chain if it goes bad
 

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Just because he was told to do it won't hold up if it goes bad and someone gets sick.
 

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If all the coatings mentioned are wrong tell us a product that's right rather than saying there are so many to choose from that meet his criteria.
 

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If all the coatings mentioned are wrong tell us a product that's right rather than saying there are so many to choose from that meet his criteria.
I think what we are saying or trying to say is there are none.
 

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Just because he was told to do it won't hold up if it goes bad and someone gets sick.
No, that's simply not true.

Both Canada and the USA use the British "Common Law", which itself evolved from Roman law. In Common law there is something called "Vicarious liability". Vicarious liability meant that if a slave in Rome did something which caused harm to someone else, that slave's owner could be held liable because he was ultimately responsible for the way the slave does his work.

Nowadays, that same law means that if an employee, driving a forklift for example, punches one of the prongs on the forklift through someone's car door, then his employer is liable for the damage caused. If there came a law suit, both the employee and the employer would be named in the suit, but because of vicarious liability, it would be the employer that was ultimately held responsible for the damage because he was always in control of the employee's actions. If the employee was not competent to drive a forklift safely, then it was negligent of his employer to assign him a job driving a fork lift.
 

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But does that hold true if the employee runs the fork thru your car on purpose when he knows better.
 

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NSF 61 is basically a potable (drinking water) regulation, for immersion (like a water tservice. That does not seem to apply to the application you are doing. Check with whomever is informing you to coat this surface.
 

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NSF 61 is basically a potable (drinking water) regulation, for immersion (like a water tank) service. That does not seem to apply to the application you are doing. Check with whomever is informing you to coat this surface for clarification.
 

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Ric:

I kinda disagree. I don't disagree with the points you make. I disagree with the position you're taking.

The OP knows the situation better than any of us and can see for himself whether there's any possibility of the stuff he uses getting into the food. He is being told what to do by either his employer or his superior, and it's not our place to be asking him to explain himself to our satisfaction. He may not know himself why he's being asked to use a coloured lacquer spray paint, but it may not be his place to be questioning that decision.

What's wrong with just answering his question?
I don't understand, Nestor...do you think I was being too hard on the guy? A person comes onto this site and asks for advice - is it good advice to advise him to continue on the path he's started - a flawed path - even though the probability of failure is high, and therefore, the cost and energy of this endeavor would most likely have been wasted and futile - not to mention the increased possibility of exposing others to the very contamination that he (whoever) is trying to avoid? ...and giving him poor advice, just to "answer his question"? I don't get that.

Mr. Papashangu didn't give us a whole lot of info as to who is requiring him to apply lacquer spray then a food-safe coating - I don't know if it's his supervisor or a general contractor on a job, an architect or whatever...you don't know that either - But on the one hand (him being told by a surpervisor) - if his supervisor has entrusted him with this work, and with the responsibility of finding the right products to accomplish this task - shouldn't he be made aware of the possible risks involved in his execution of this task? Shouldn't he at least make an honest attempt to protect his company's assets, his customers or his fellow workers, by minimizing a risk recognized by his employer? On the other hand (general contractor requires the application for a job), Mr. Papashangu accepts a degree of liability if a vague directive is given him, and he doesn't take the necessary steps to provide the type of protection he is being paid to do. I think we have every right to ask these questions.

Sometimes, experience in this industry affords one the insight to ask the questions of someone who may not know what questions even needs to be asked - and answered. I'm not asking for my satisfaction...I want Mr. Papashangu to perform safety and good practices.

Mr Papashangu, if I have offended you with my questions - please accept my apology.
 
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