Non food-grade PVC could become a issue | Food Safety & Gov’t Regulations

HIGHGATE, Vt. – Get out your keys.

The development of a new sugar house certification program in Vermont has revealed a potential new food safety issue for the entire industry: the use of non-food grade PVC pipes.

“I don’t think anyone knew this was a problem,” said Arnie Piper, vice president of the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association, who is spearheading a voluntary first-of-its-kind state certification program expected to be launched in the United States. near future.

It involves a portion of PVC used in sugar houses and sold by plumbing supply houses that is not stamped as food grade, but is instead intended for drainage, waste and ventilation.

“The bad things are going to say DWV,” Piper said.

David Tremblay, who works at the VMSMA to run the certification program, conducted 12 “fake inspections” of Vermont sugar houses last season and found a remarkable amount of the questionable PVC.

Pipe that is unsuitable for food may contain harmful chemicals such as BPA and lead. Sanitary facilities are also a problem.

“Drain drain opening has no cleanability,” said Tremblay.

Manufacturers will be given some leeway during the early years of the PVC certification program, since most Vermont plumbing companies do not carry food-grade pipes, Piper said.

“We will be certifying you with PVC waste for the next two years,” said Piper. “We cannot expect sugar manufacturers to meet a standard they cannot meet.”

Sugar maker Jason Gagne of Highgate, Vt. And a VMSMA board member involved in the certification program said an inspection of his own sugar house found a pipe that was not food grade.

He was already working to change it.

“Look at the stamps on your plumbing to see what you already have,” Gagne said. “My gut feeling is that you might already have some of it.”

Gagne said sugar makers should look for the letters PW, which stands for drinking water.

Sugar makers should also look for the NSF 51 stamp, the NSF 61 stamp and the NSF PW stamp, Gagne said.

“I had to go through the sugar house to take an inventory and it didn’t turn out so bad in the end,” said Gagne.

To complicate matters a bit is that a pipe can have a DWV stamp as well as the drinking water PW stamp.

“As long as it says PW, you’re good,” Gagne said.

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