Let Scrub n Shine help make sense of compounds authorized for use under USDA inspection and grading programs.

What are USDA Non-Food Compounds?

A non-food compound is any agent proposed for use in a federally inspected plant but not intended as an ingredient of meat, poultry, rabbit or egg product.

There are Procedures for Obtaining USDA Authorization for Non-Food Compounds

Denaturants, outdoor pesticides, compounds used in non-processing areas, cafeterias, heating systems, or holding pens do not require evaluation.

Compounds Used in Offices and Other Similar Non-Food Processing Areas

Compounds such as dusting aids, furniture waxes or polishes, wall or floor finishes or waxes, rug or upholstery shampoos or cleaners, rug anti-static treatments, window or glass cleaners, and other similar compounds specifically designated by the Compounds Evaluation Unit require no authorization by USDA prior to use in such areas. They may not be used in any processing area of a federally inspected plant.

Compounds Used in Cafeterias or Other Retail Food Service Areas

Compounds such as rinse additives to prevent spotting and streaking of dishes and utensils, utensil tarnish removers, some hand dishwashing soaps or detergents, and other similar compounds specifically designated by the Compounds Evaluation Unit require no authorization by USDA prior to use in those areas. They may not be used in any processing area of a federally inspected plant.

USDA Categories of Cleaning Compounds

USDA Category A, Cleaning Compounds

USDA Category A1

Compounds for use as general cleaning agents on all surfaces, or for use with steam or mechanical cleaning devices in all departments.

Before using these compounds, food products and packaging materials must be removed from the room or carefully protected. After using these compounds, surfaces must be thoroughly rinsed with potable water.

USDA Category A2

Compounds for use only in soak tanks or with steam or mechanical cleaning devices in all departments.

Before using these compounds, food products and packaging materials must be removed from the room or carefully protected. After using these compounds, all surfaces in the area must be thoroughly rinsed with potable water.

USDA Category A3

Acid cleaners for use in all departments.

Before using these compounds, food products and packaging materials must be removed from the room or carefully protected. After using these compounds, all surfaces in the area must be thoroughly rinsed with potable water.

USDA Category A4

Floor and wall cleaners for use in all departments.

Before using these compounds, food products and packaging materials must be removed from the room or carefully protected. After using these compounds, all surfaces in the area must be thoroughly rinsed with potable water.

USDA Category A5

Floor and wall cleaners for subfreezing temperatures.

When used in areas with subfreezing temperatures, potable water rinsing is not required following use provided that the solution and solubilized soil are effectively removed by wiping or wet vacuuming.

USDA Category A6

Scouring cleaners.

Residues resulting from the use of scouring cleaners must be carefully removed from surfaces by thorough rinsing with potable water.

USDA Category A7

Metal cleaners and polishes or nonfood contact surfaces.

USDA Category A8

Degreasers or carbon removers for food cooking or smoking equipment, utensils, or other associated surfaces.

Before using these compounds, food products and packaging materials must be removed from the area or carefully protected. After using these compounds, all surfaces must be thoroughly rinsed with potable water. The compounds must be used in a manner so that all odors associated with the compounds are dissipated before food products or packaging materials are re-exposed in the area.

USDA Category B, Compounds for Laundry Use

USDA Category B1

Laundry compounds.

Laundry detergents, bleaches, and sours may be used on fabric which contacts meat or poultry products, directly or indirectly, provided that the fabric is thoroughly rinsed with potable water at the end of the laundering operation.

USDA Category B2

Laundry compounds for uniforms or other fabric which does not come in direct contact with food products.

USDA Category C, Compounds Used in Inedible and Non-Processing Areas

USDA Category C1

Compounds for use on all surfaces in inedible product processing areas, non-processing areas, and/or exterior areas. These compounds must not be used to mask odors resulting from insanitary conditions. They must be used in a manner which prevents penetration of any characteristic odor or fragrance into edible product areas. Compounds containing isomers of dichlorobenzene , or other substances toxic by inhalation, may be used only in areas where there is adequate ventilation to prevent accumulation of hazardous vapors.

Permission for the use of these compounds on loading docks and other similar areas is left to the discretion of the Inspectors in Charge of the plants.

USDA Category C2

Compounds for use in toilets and/or dressing rooms.

USDA Category C3

Paint removers for use in non-processing areas.

Equipment and utensils which directly contact edible products must be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed with potable water after treatment with such products before being returned to a processing area.

USDA Category D, Sanitizers

USDA Category D1

Sanitizers for all surfaces always requiring a rinse.

Before using these compounds, food products and packaging materials must be removed from the room or carefully protected. After using these compounds, surfaces must be thoroughly rinsed with potable water before operations are resumed. The compounds must always be used at dilutions and according to applicable directions provided on the EPA registered label.

USDA Category D2

Sanitizers for all surfaces not always requiring a rinse.

Before using these compounds, food products and packaging materials must be removed from the room or carefully protected. A potable water rinse is not required following use of these compounds on previously cleaned hard surfaces provided that the surfaces are adequately drained before contact with food so that little or no residue remains which can adulterate or have a deleterious effect on edible products. A potable water rinse is required following use of these compounds under conditions other than those stated above. The compounds must always be used at dilutions and according to applicable directions provided on the EPA registered label.

USDA Category E, Employee Hand Care

USDA Category E1

Hand washing compounds for use in all departments.

The compounds must be dispensed from adequate dispensers located a sufficient distance from the processing line to prevent accidental product contamination. After the use of the compounds, the hands must be thoroughly rinsed with potable water. Under conditions of use, there can be no odor or fragrance left on the hands.

USDA Category E2

Hand washing and sanitizing compounds.

The compounds must be dispensed from adequate dispensers located a sufficient distance from the processing line to prevent accidental product contamination. The hands need not be washed prior to the use of the compounds. After the use of the compounds, the hands must be thoroughly rinsed with potable water.

USDA Category E3

Hand sanitizing compounds.

The hands must be washed and thoroughly rinsed prior to sanitizing with the compound. The hands need not be rinsed following the use of the compound.

USDA Category E4

Hand creams, lotions, and cleaners.

The use of such compounds is limited to toilets and dressing rooms. Employees who handle edible products may use the compounds only when leaving the plant.

USDA Category F, Pesticides

USDA Category F1

Pesticides for use in all areas.

These compounds must be used in accordance with the conditions for non-residual insecticides set forth in Section 8.48 of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Manual.

USDA Category F2

Pesticides for use in non-processing and inedible areas only.

These compounds must be used in accordance with the conditions for residual insecticides set forth in Section 8.48 of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Manual. They must be used in a manner that prevents their entry into edible product areas through open windows, ventilating systems, etc.

USDA Category F3

Rodenticides for controlled use only.

Compounds listed in this category are to be used in accordance with the conditions for rodenticides set forth in Section 8.49 of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Manual.

USDA Category F4

Fumigants for controlled use only.

Compounds listed in this category are to be used in accordance with the conditions for fumigants set forth in Section 8.48 of the meat and Poultry Inspection Manual.

USDA Category F5

Fumigants for controlled use only.

Before using these compounds, all edible products and packaging materials must be removed from the room to be fumigated. After fumigation, the treated equipment and space must be thoroughly aerated to remove all vapors before inspectors or employees reenter the area. Food contact surfaces must be rinsed with potable water before edible products are returned to the room. Use of such compounds is not covered in the Meat and Poultry Inspection Manual.

USDA Category G, Water Treatment Compounds

NOTE: Compounds used in such treatment should not remain in the water in concentrations greater than required by good practice. Compounds containing substances which may subsequently result in the adulteration or contamination of meat or poultry products may not be introduced into the system.

USDA Category G1

General potable water treatment compounds.

USDA Category G2

Phosphate potable water treatment compounds.

The concentration of phosphates may not exceed 10 parts per million calculated as phosphate ion.

USDA Category G3

Silicate potable water treatment compounds.

The concentration of silicates may not exceed 10 parts per million calculated as silicon dioxide.

USDA Category G4

Chlorine potable water treatment compounds.

Chlorine may be present in process water of meat plants at concentrations up to 5 parts per million calculated as available chlorine. Chlorine may be used in process water of poultry plants at levels acceptable to plant management, recognizing the self-limiting factors of effect on product, corrosion of equipment, and acceptability by plant personnel. Plant management must notify the Inspector in Charge when the chlorine level is increased above 20 parts per million. Chlorine must be dispensed at a constant and uniform level and the method or system must be such that a controlled rate is maintained.

USDA Category G5

Cooling and retort water treatment compounds.

The amount used should be the minimum sufficient for the purpose.

USDA Category G6

Compounds for treating boilers, steam lines, where the steam produced may contact edible products and/or cooling systems where the treated water may not contact edible products.

In compounds containing volatile amines, the amine in the steam may not exceed the indicated concentration.

Cyclohexylamine 10 ppm Morpholine 10 ppm
Octadecylamine 3 ppm Hydrazine ppm
Diethylaminoethanol 15 ppm

USDA Category G7

Compounds for treating boilers, steam lines, and/or cooling systems where neither the treated water nor the steam produced may contact edible products.

USDA Category H, Lubricants

USDA Category H1

Lubricants with incidental contact.

These compounds may be used as a lubricant or antirust film on equipment and machine parts in locations in which there is exposure of the lubricated part to edible products. They may also be used as a release agent on gaskets or seals of tank closures. The amount used should be the minimum required to accomplish the desired technical effect on the equipment. If used as an antirust film, the compound must be removed from the equipment surface by washing or wiping as required to leave the surface effectively free of any substance which could be transferred to food being processed.

USDA Category H2

Lubricants with no contact.

These compounds may be used as a lubricant, release agent, or antirust film on equipment and machine parts in locations in which there is no possibility of the lubricant or lubricated part contacting edible products.

USDA Category H3

Soluble oils.

These products are chemically acceptable for application to hooks, trolleys, and similar equipment to clean and prevent rust. Those portions of the equipment that contact edible products must be made clean and free of the mixture before reuse.

USDA Category J, Absorbents

USDA Category J1

Absorbents or anti-slip agents for spot application to floors.

Such compounds may be used in all areas provided that use is limited to the portion of the floor area where the hazard exists, and that such use does not result in dusting, tracking, or other objectionable conditions. Compounds may not be used as a substitute for good sanitation. They must be removed as a part of the routine floor cleaning operation.

USDA Category K, Solvent Cleaners

USDA Category K1

Solvents and solvent degreasers for use in non-processing areas.

Following the use of these compounds, equipment and utensils must be thoroughly washed and rinsed with potable water before being returned to a processing area.

USDA Category K2

Solvents for cleaning electronic instruments.

These compounds are chemically acceptable for cleaning electronic instruments and devices which will not tolerate aqueous cleaning solutions. Before using these compounds, food products and packaging materials must be removed from the area or carefully protected. These compounds must be used in a manner so that all odors associated with the compound are dissipated before food products or packaging materials are reexposed in the area.

USDA Category K3

Adhesives or glue removers.

Before using these compounds, food products and packaging materials must be removed from the area or carefully protected. After using these compounds, all surfaces, must be thoroughly washed and rinsed with potable water. These compounds must be used in a manner so that all odors associated with the compound are dissipated before food products or packaging materials are reexposed in the area.

USDA Category L, Sewer and Drain Cleaner

USDA Category L1

Compounds for use in sewage and/or drain lines.

USDA Category L2

Enzymatic compounds for use in sewage and/or drain lines.

Manufacturers must provide USDA with a record of salmonellae analysis for each lot of the finished enzymatic treatment proposed for sale to federally inspected meat and poultry plants. Testing must be performed by a qualified microbiologist.

USDA Category M, Denaturants

USDA Category M1

Denaturants for meat.

Denaturants for carcasses, parts thereof, meat and meat food products (other than rendered animal fat) condemned for pathology and intended for disposal only as tankage. The denaturant must be deposited in all portions of the carcass or product to the extent necessary to prevent its use for food purposes.

USDA Category M2

Denaturants for meat.

Denaturants for carcasses, parts thereof, meat and meat food products intended for disposal for purposes other than human food. The denaturant must be deposited in all portions of the carcass or product to the extent necessary to prevent its use for human food.

USDA Category M3

Denaturants for poultry.

Denaturants for poultry carcasses, parts thereof, or poultry products intended for disposal for purposes other than human food. The denaturant must be deposited in all portions of the carcass or products to the extent necessary to prevent its use for food purposes .

USDA Category M4

Denaturants for poultry.

Denaturants for poultry carcasses, parts thereof, or poultry products condemned for pathology and intended for disposal only as tankage. The denaturants must be deposited in all portions of the carcass or product to the extent necessary to prevent its use for food purposes.

USDA Category N, Food Processing Compounds

USDA Category N1

Wetting agents for use in poultry scald vats.

Compounds used for this purpose may not alter the water retentive properties of poultry products being processed.

USDA Category N2

Hog scalding compounds.

Compounds must be labeled in accordance with Section 318.1 (d) of the Meat Inspection Regulations.

USDA Category N3

Tripe denuding, bleaching, and neutralizing agents.

Treatment must be followed by thorough rinsing with potable water to remove added substances. Compounds must be labeled in accordance with Section 318.1 (d) of the Meat Inspection Regulations.

USDA Category N4

Compounds for washing fruits and vegetables that are to become ingredients of poultry, meat, and rabbit products.

After using these compounds, the products must be thoroughly rinsed with potable water.

USDA Category N5

Compounds for cleaning or treating feet or other edible parts.

Treatment must be followed by thorough rinsing with potable water to remove added substances.

USDA Category P, Miscellaneous

USDA Category P1

Compounds requiring letter indicating authorized use.

Compounds listed in this category are to be used in accordance with the conditions set forth in the letter of acceptance. Copies of the acceptance letter must be supplied to Federal inspectors as proof of the acceptable use(s) of the compound. These letters remain valid as long as the compound is continuously listed in this publication.

First, check with your local authorities to see which products have specific governmental requirements.
Then, contact us to discuss your options. We can help!