Are steel drums food grade?

Open Top Drum with lacquered interior

Steel drums are one of the most commonly used industrial containers in the UK. But while you might see them as invaluable for safely storing hazardous waste or transporting petrol or diesel fuels, they are also incredibly popular for storing and transporting food.

In fact, the chances are high that at some point in the supply chain, the food or drink that you’re eating for dinner has been stored or transported in food grade metal barrels. High quality steel drums are UN food grade certified, making them an excellent (and importantly, safe) choice for foodstuffs.


Food grade metal barrels aren’t specifically made for storing foodstuffs however; consumable goods are just one of the products that steel drums are able to carry.

In fact, if a steel drum is properly cared for and decontaminated, then throughout its lifespan it could find itself being used for storing everything from spices and beer to solvents and chemicals.

Versatility is one of the key attributes of steel drums. For that reason, you can find steel drums used across a wide range of industries. The most common industries include the following:

  • Industrial food and beverage suppliers
  • Alcoholic beverage producers
  • Chemical, petrochemical, or fuel manufacturers
  • Building and construction
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Paint suppliers


It should be noted that any steel drums used by the petrochemical industry would need to be rigorously disinfected and reconditioned before they were able to carry food and beverages.

Businesses intending to purchase steel drums need to ensure that this form of reconditioning has been carried out and that the drums are certified food grade metal barrels. If the steel drum is new, then the purchaser only needs to double-check that the barrel is certified food grade, which in most cases it will be.

This food grade certification is only given to steel drums (and other industrial containers, such as plastic barrels), which can safely store and transport foodstuffs. What this means is that food grade metal barrels are non-toxic and won’t contaminate the food or drink stored inside them when the metal comes into contact with the goods.

For the food industry, food grade quality containers are essential for both storage and transport. They allow food and drinks to be transported in bulk and stored safely for long periods of time.

Suppliers often equip food grade metal barrels with drum liners, too. This keeps the product inside the steel drum separated from the metal itself, adding an extra layer of protection for the food and keeping the drum clean.


ITP Packaging stocks a wide range of steel drums that are certified for the storage and transport of consumable goods. Our experienced staff can offer expert advice and guidance to help you to select the best food grade metal barrels for your business.

Contact ITP Packaging today to find out more about food grade steel drums.

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