Stainless Steel vs. Nickel and Chrome

Many of our customers ask whether nickel and chrome cookware is safe for direct contact with food. Fortunately, NSF / ANSI 51, Food Equipment Materials (“Standard 51”), provides some guidance.

The short answer is that using stainless steel is your best choice. That is why all of our cookware is made out of type 304 stainless steel.

Standard 51 requires that when you use a nickel and chrome coating, you comply with ASTM B456. This ASTM standard determines, among other things, how much nickel and chrome you need to apply based on the relevant “service condition.” Cookware would fall under service condition 3 (if washed) or service condition 2 (which applies generally to products in the kitchen).

Much of the imported cookware from overseas has less nickel and chrome than what is required for service condition 2 or 3, which would not satisfy the ASTM standard or NSF Standard 51. It is very common for overseas wire manufacturers to apply a “flash” or “decorative” coating of nickel and chrome. This would not be enough to make the product safe for direct contact with food.

Another risk with nickel and chrome coating is the risk of flaking, which is shown below.


You would not want nickel and chrome that has flaked off getting into your food or your fryer!

Also, nickel and chrome cookware will not last as long as stainless steel, which provides superior corrosion resistance.

You can avoid these issues by making sure that your cookware is made out of type 304 stainless steel.

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