Food Safe Glazes

The phrase, "food safe" refers to the fired finish of the glaze and the amount of lead or other heavy metals that are leached when the glaze surface is interrupted. The term "food safe" should not be confused with "non-toxic" whic refers to the product in its unfired state.

At Mayco, we recognize "food safe" as a legally defined term and a term of practical common sense. We'll explain our understanding and use of the phrase below.

Legal Definition

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the legal entity that oversees food safety regulations and standards. They set limits and tolerance levels for chemicals and additives. With respect to ceramic glazes: a glaze that contains lead and cadmium can be fired and the food container surface can legally classified as "food safe" if it meets leach test standards. Basically, leach test involve placing an acetic acid food (lemons, tomato juice) on a glazed surface and measuring the chemical changes to the food before and after the test period. If the amount of lead, cadmium or other heavy metals emitted measure less than the standards set by the FDA, then the glaze may be labeled as "food safe."

So, if a product label features the phrase "Food Safe" that means the glaze meets the FDA guidelines.

Practical Definition

Many glazes are designed to create surfaces textures, such as those created using Mayco Classic Crackle, Crystalites and Jungle Gems crystal glazes. Textured surfaces can trap food and lead to bacterial growth. While these glazes are legally labeled "Food Safe" we do not feel thy are the best choice for food containers. Our company philosophy, consistent with our views on product safety, is to avoid using textural glazes for food surface containers. We voluntarily add the following phrase to product labels on textural glazes:

"Due to surface characteristics this glaze may not be suitable for food containers."

Fo further information on the food safe topic or other health and safety issues, please contact technical support at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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