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Food Safe Paint or Hygiene Coating? Which is needed for what.

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The food and beverage industry is a hard-hitting, fast-paced environment that demands food safe, hygiene awareness no matter the rush. Picture the scenes from our television screens. Every one of them will include a hygiene coating or a food safe paint:

The Great British Menu has steam powdering the ceilings and walls, sweat-furred brows dashing between kitchen tops, and blue plasters protecting poorly fingertips that have felt the fury of the kitchen flurry.

Gordon Ramsay unmasks mould, dirt and pre-heated e-coli on Kitchen Nightmares before shutting down restaurants in full flow on a Friday.

Even the idyllic Great British Bake Off tent adheres to rigorous Health and Safety regulations before every round of flour-throwing frolicking.

When it comes to painting and coating kitchens, food halls, abattoirs or dairies, the same health and safety rules apply, and they are essential in keeping a business open – who’d want to run or dine out at a 1-star rated eatery after all?

Food Safe Paint? Or Hygiene Coating?

First and foremost, it is important to try and differentiate between the terms ‘food safe’ and ‘hygienic’. What are the regulations? Do they apply to my commercial kitchen, common room or workplace? And if so, what paperwork must be adhered to?

Food safe paint and EU Regulations

If your varnish or coating will come into physical contact with food products, say in a silo for example or a food packaging plant, then there will be regulations required and you may need a food safe paint.

The European Commission has very strict rules on the amount of Bisphenol A (BPA) that can be included in varnishes and coatings coming into contact with food.

A new regulation was drawn up in February 2018 (Regulation (EU) 2018/213further tightening the rules of how much BPA in varnishes and coatings can be used when packaging or manufacturing food. This has been changed to 0.05mg per kg of food and comes into force on September 6, 2018.

The regulation has been published and the full wording can be found here. It is also worth noting that any stock packaged before this date will be acceptable in the eyes of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

You will also find paints that adhere to United States law on food contact, such as some Rust-Oleum products. The U.S. Food and Drug Association has its own Code of Federal Regulations. To save you some time (and a rollercoaster read, I tell thee) the section of the papers covering Resinous and Polymeric Coatings was updated in August 2018 and is available on the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (EFCR) website.

Hygiene Coatings for Health & Safety

As long as you don’t bounce meatballs off your kitchen walls or season your steak on the canteen floor, then it should be okay to opt for a hygiene coating.

kitchen epoxy floor

Ideal for shared food areas.

In today’s cold-calling culture of PPI claims, fictional collisions and accident helplines, Health and Safety is under constant public scrutiny. According to the HSE, slips at work are still the highest cause of accidents in the workplace and to members of the public visiting your establishments.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 are still in force in the United Kingdom for the well-being of the public and your employees. Regulation 12 requires floors to be in an appropriate condition for accident-free movement. The full wording of the regulation is available on the government website. If you wish to find out more about measuring the anti-slip qualities of your floor, there is also a PDF explaining these experiments available on the HSE website.

Hygiene coatings for YOUR industry

Food and beverage environments require an abrasive, hard-wearing, chemical resistant and easy-to-clean wall and flooring. Furthermore as a general rule, the more seamless the better.

Epoxy resin systems boast these components in a variety of combinations. We sell ultra-fast curing systems, cold cure systems for walk-in refrigerators and non-slip, decorative coatings for school canteens, common rooms and markets from leading UK suppliers, including Coo-Var, Rust-Oleum, Resin Surfaces Limited, Blackfriar, Sika and Rawlins.

Billingsgate Fish Market, London, UK

Resin Surfaces Limited (now part of the Sherwin-Williams family) have an excellent range of epoxy resin coatings. Resuthane TG69 can be seen in the above image, where it was employed at London’s iconic Billingsgate Fish Market.

Selling over 25,000 fish a year, the Canary Wharf attraction commissioned a floor that would require excellent anti-slip and anti-abrasion qualities. It was also imperative to have a floor coating that could be installed without halting the industry and suffering economically. Resuthane TG69 was later utilised for the kitchen flooring of London’s Bankside Hilton, which opened in 2016. Their products have also been used in the factories of KP Nuts, Cadbury’s and McVitie’s.

Resuthane comes in a variety of ranges to suit your environment. FasTop Multi WR (formerly known as Resuthane JT40) is a water-based render for walls and coving. FasTop Multi RS69 (formerly known as Resuthane RS69) is an aggressive screed designed to withstand liquid temperatures of up to 120°C. The strength of the slip-aggregate can also be diversely altered on Resuthane products to suit your exact needs and the thickness of your floor.

RSL’s products are independently regulated by Campden BRI, a safety and quality service that supports the food and beverage industry. They are an accredited company that focus on health and safety. For more information on their work, do visit their website.

The installation of an epoxy resin flooring system does not have to carry vast financial implications. If you are running a busy restaurant or a budding brewery, you may not wish to shut down the entire operation.

epoxy floor system

Seamless epoxy effect

Coo-Var Profloor Plus FH is a solvent-free, two-pack epoxy resin that is designed to allow the re-laying and coating of an industrial floor the same day. It is an economic and food-friendly solution for when downtime is not an option.

For less ambient temperatures such as walk-in refrigerators where shelf-life is key, RSL and Rust-Oleum have created cold-curing resins to maintain a safe and healthy environment.

RSL’s Resutop Cold Cure is a two-pack, heavy-duty, fast-curing epoxy resin with chemical resistant qualities and a smooth gloss finish. It offers this resistance at temperatures as low as 5°C, and the fast-curing allows you to not worry about exposing stock to warmer temperatures for unhealthy time periods.

Certified Food Safe Paints Collection

If you do require a coating intended for food contact surfaces, we stock a range of food-safe paints that possess the qualities required to protect your floors, walls and tiles in industries where there are high levels of fats, oils and heat such as the Food and Beverage industry.


Silos can also require food safe paints

For certified wall and ceiling topcoats, Rust-Oleum 8300 Hygienic Wall Coating and Rust-Oleum 8700 Hygienic Acrylic Wall Coating offer protection from mould, mildew, and high humidity. Rust-Oleum 8300 is better for refrigerated areas, whilst Rust-Oleum 8700 can be applied up to three times in one day.  They should also be primed with Rust-Oleum 8399 or 8798 Hygienic Primer (applying the primer with the nearest product number).

Still unsure? Give us a call!

If you have even the mildest of concerns about which of these products would be right for you, our technical team are just a phone call away on 0113 245 5450 and would be delighted to discuss your project. Alternatively, leave a comment on this blog and one of our web team will get back to you as soon as they can. Our experts can also be contacted via email on [email protected].


  1. I have a concrete floor 5 metres x 2.5. In a room that I want to use as a food preparation area. What product can I use to ensure that I meets regulations? What would it cost and where can I buy it please.

    Kind regards


  2. I’m in a food production facility in California in the USA and I want to mark/label black plastic containers with a white or light color permanent paint or marker (possibly with a stencil). These containers are not really direct food contact, but they are food contact adjacent. A food grade permanent spray paint would be ideal, but a paint marker would suffice. Any suggestions on products to use? I am having a surprisingly difficult time finding suitable ones, especially since many Rustoleum products are prohibited for sale to California for some reason.

    • Hi George,

      I’m afraid we don’t currently supply materials outside of the UK – if you contact the manufacturers directly, they may be able to point you towards a viable stockist.

  3. Joanne Ballinger

    Can i have a price please for tile paint suitable for a comertial kitchen its our village hall .

  4. do you sell in new zealand?

    • Hi Brian,

      Many thanks for taking the time to read our blog and for your question. Unfortunately we only ship within the UK at present, thank you for your interest and apologies we couldn’t assist this time.

      Many thanks

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