Food grade steels

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When you have to build a kitchen knife the choice of steel becomes limited especially if it is oriented to the sale where you have to use only certified steel.

In today’s post I want to talk about the latest authorized changes of theDecree 12 December 2007, No. 269 for the production of materials in contact with food (Only for Italy and EU).

In particular, stainless steels and if you are a maker who makes kitchen knives you absolutely have to do things according to the law and use only certified steels.

The search for food certificates

I did this research to get myself some kitchen knives for personal use and also for some friends that my asked and so I did a research that I want you to know to avoid the usual maker that uses steel for kitchen knives prohibited by law and then still wants to justify himself with bullshit from an ignorant person because doing a knife well does not mean knowing how some elements work on the human body.

What are the prohibited materials?

According to the aforementioned Decree, it is forbidden to market and use materials that are intended to come into contact with food substances or water intended for human consumption which are lead (or lead coated), zinc, tin or alloys composed of more than 10% lead.

Stainless steel, on the other hand, thanks to the exceptional properties that characterize it, make itperfect for a wide variety of food and beverage uses.

Certified steels

All steels that come into contact with food have been standardized.

“On December 11th the Ministerial Decree of August 6th 2015 was published in the Official Journal. 195 which modifies the art. 37 of Ministerial Decree 21/3/73 regarding the test conditions envisaged for measuring the specific global migration of Nickel, Chromium and Manganese for kitchen and table knives, providing a test with food simulant no more than 100 ° C but at 70 ° C, a condition more consistent with the normal conditions of use of these products, without prejudice to the guarantee for consumer health protection

The revision of the legislation, in force since 1973 and never amended despite the shortcomings highlighted by several parties, took place following the presentation of a request for regulatory review promoted and coordinated by Coltellerie Paolucci, with the sharing and support of over 20 companies in the sector and of FIAC ANIMA, through the realization of an accurate and substantial technical dossier.

The new regulation referred to in paragraph 4 of the art. 37 of Ministerial Decree 21/3/73, as amended, recognizes the specificities of the steels used for making knives, considerably reducing the problem of unexplained variability and unpredictability of results in analyzes conducted on products of the same type and ensures greater operational certainty for producers and sellers, while respecting the principle of protecting the health of the consumer, which in Italy is still guaranteed in a much more stringent manner than in all European countries. ”

We then proceeded to evaluate the content of chromium, nickel and manganese released by the knife blade.

Limit values: Cr < 0,1 ppm – Ni < 0,1ppm– Mn < 0,1ppm

The steel batch certificate

When you buy a steelask for his certificate which should be included in any case.

The simple certificate 2.2 shows the casting number and the composition.

Specifically, the subject specifically requires the food certificate.

When you have your certificate in hand, you are calm and if you sell a food grade knife you must provide a copy of that certificate.

If the steelworks doesn’t give you the food certificate obviously that batch of steel is not certified for food contact.

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It is clear that if you buy an AISI 420 or an AISI 440no food certificate is required, since these are officially suitable steels for contact with food, you will only need the simple 2.2 certification that will testify to the composition of the alloy (420 or 440 in fact).

So what is very important if you have to sell the knifeis the 2.2 certificate from the steel mill.

What type of stainless steels to use?

The stainless steels that are normally used in the food industry are in the majority of the Austenitic series.

In particular of the type AISI 304 (EN 1,4301) and AISI 316 (EN 1.4401).

The first type of steel (AISI 304) is the most used while the second steel (AISI 316), which also contains molybdenum, has a high resistance to corrosion in a saline environment and my advice is to use it in particular cases.

Why stainless steel?

Stainless steel iswidely used in the food industry.

This, in fact,resists corrosioncaused by many foods and drinks.

In kitchen knives a key aspect is clearly the fact that stainless steel does not have to“contaminate”the food product in any way.

It is used to avoid changes in flavor, coloring of foods and soft drinks.

In addition to this determining factor, stainless steel is a material thatit is very easy to clean, ensuring hygiene during food processing in general. Lastly, stainless steel is resistant and can be “shaped” ad hoc in order to carry out the processing and storage of food.


If you have to make kitchen knives you have to abide by the rules and use only certified steels.

If it is a knife that you use for you it becomes your personal choice but if you have to give it or sell it to someone you have to be aware that you could also do something wrong even if the knife is beautiful and cuts like a razor.


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