Food-grade hexane refers to a specific grade of hexane that is considered safe for use in the food industry. Hexane is a chemical compound that is commonly used as a solvent for various industrial processes, including the extraction of oils from seeds and vegetables. In the food industry, it is primarily used to extract oil from crops like soybeans, corn, and canola to produce edible oils.
Food-grade hexane is subjected to strict quality and safety standards to ensure that it does not contain harmful impurities or contaminants that could pose a risk to human health. It is important to note that while food-grade hexane is considered safe for its intended use in food processing, it should not be consumed directly or used as an ingredient in food products.
Residues of hexane in extracted oils are closely monitored and controlled to ensure they fall within acceptable limits set by regulatory authorities, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
It's worth mentioning that some concerns have been raised about the potential health and environmental impacts of hexane use in food processing, particularly with regards to worker exposure and air emissions in the manufacturing process. As a result, there has been a growing interest in alternative extraction methods that use safer solvents or mechanical processes.