Three Letters Re: What Determines if a Storage Bucket is Food Grade?

Greetings Jim,
I have found the folks at the bakery counter at [supermarkets such as] Safeway are willing to give me food grade buckets for free or maybe $1 each. They get frosting five gallons at a time. Once you read the label on that stuff you may never eat store bought cake again! – DAP in Missouri


I wanted to share the best priced source I have found for Food Grade Buckets.
Other than getting them free from food vendors, I haven’t found a price better than $3.99 for five gallon food grade buckets. Lids are $1.09. People might not see the terms “Food Grade”, but seeing NSF, FDA, or USDA approved means essentially the same thing. – Joe A.


A couple of days ago you wrote about storing grains in [HDPE] plastic buckets. Since then people have had questions regarding what constitutes a “food grade” bucket. Questions that you have answered fully.

However, in that original post you mentioned putting the grain in plastic bags inside the bucket. My question is what [plastic composition] bags should I use? The first thing that came to mind was a trash bag — Convenient as they are readily available and they are large. But, I recall reading somewhere that [some] commercially produced trash bags are treated with pesticides which one would not want their food stored in. If that is so, then what type of bags would you recommend? – Mark

JWR Replies: Clear vinyl bags (often marked “V” or with recycle code “3”) are almost always food grade. Low density polyethylene (LDPE or recycle code “4”) in film form–typically used in grocery bags and trash bags–is usually food grade, but some varieties have some strange additives or coatings. To be sure, see the manufacturer’s packaging for details. If the package is marked “FDA Approved”, “USDA Approved”, or “food safe” then they are food grade. Most mylar is food grade, but again beware of odd coatings. Most mylar bucket liners–such as those sold by Nitro-Pak — are food grade. The latter, BTW, is my top choice for extending the longevity of stored grains and legumes.