Polymers to Industry
Polymers to Industry
Media Compatibility Icon
Media Compatibility
Ask George Icon
Media Compatibility Icon
Media Compatibility
Ask George Icon

Food Grade Metal Detectable Rubber Sheet - It’s all about Migration and Dispersion and Testing

16 Jul 2019 | Posted by Andrew Onions

We all understand that when a new product is bought to market such as our M396 Metal Detectable Nitrile, competitors will want to jump onto the bandwagon with apparently comparable Neoprene and Nitrile products.  We also recognise that some of those competitors have little or no technical knowledge on how technical Polymer Sheeting is produced to the standards required; or believe that simply adding metal filings to a compound makes it metal detectable; or that they don’t need to have their materials independently tested to demonstrate compliance to the Food Standards stated.

Having had the opportunity to review and discuss these alternative products coming onto the market with some key converters and users in the Food Industry, it comes as no surprise to find that they are having issues with cheap alternatives.

Migration of Chemicals not an option

EC1935:2004 requires independent testing and verification that the compound will not leach any chemical compounds into the food process during use within the working temperature range.

We are being advised that despite repeated promises to the contrary, users have struggled get copies of independent test certificates and are advised that in house testing has been undertaken although no test results are available.

MacLellan can provide technical data and independent test certificates to support our M396 Metal Detectable and all our Food Grade materials.

Even Dispersion of Food Safe Metal Particulates is Critical

Ensuring that the metal detectable particles are evenly dispersed through the material is not simply a matter of adding some iron filings during the compounding or calendaring process.  We subcontract this work to a specialist processor whom tests and certifies the batch mix prior to calendaring and vulcanisation.  We then recheck the final sheeting prior to release.

We have been provided with competitor samples where the dispersion of metal detectable particles – in some cases what appear to be iron oxide – is entirely random and there are clearly areas of material without any magnetic pull.  This puts the entire food production process at jeopardy if the end user is reliant on being able to detect any contamination.

General Quality Concerns

Whilst these competitor materials have fundamental issues relating to Quality of compound and dispersion of metallic particles, there are also more basic quality concerns we have noted: 

  • Hardness variation 20 degrees above the quoted figure

  • Coarse Cloth Finish on material providing ample opportunity for microbial growth

  • Significant odour release – potentially from the metal additive

  • Compression set above 50%, contradicting the high elongation and tensile figures


MacLellan Rubber do not profess to be the cheapest supplier of Technical Rubber Sheeting, but we do aspire to offer compliant materials that are best in class.  Unfortunately supplying unmistakably compliant materials comes at a cost but then accepting non-compliant materials just because someone is prepared to issue a valueless certificate comes at a cost, to your reputation and financial wellbeing.

MacLellan Rubber market their Food Quality materials under the FoodSafe branding because we know our materials are exactly that. 

For more information on our FoodSafe Grades click https://maclellanrubber.com/food-grade-rubber-sheeting-products or contact our sales team on 01902 307711