Food Safe Plastic Buckets - What Makes Them Safe And What Options Are Available?

Have you ever had to store food in case of an emergency? What about gathering the supplies for and cooking for a huge gathering? Or maybe you want to have a party so people can use food-safe containers to play games like "bobbing for apples." What do all of these have in common? The need for large, food-safe containers, of course!

Regular Buckets vs. Food Grade Buckets

There is a big difference between the plastic buckets you get at your local hardware store (even if they come with tops) and ones that are safe for transporting and storing food. Food grade buckets are commonly made in thickness from 70 mil to 90 mil, to allow for transport and hard use. The tops seal very tightly to form an air-tight seal allowing dry food, such as rice or beans, to remain fresh for years at a time. Some tops are designed for re-use, while others come with a tear strip that is a one-time use (although these can often be used again for shorter duration storage).

On the other hand, regular plastic buckets may contain chemicals that can leach into food over time or may be thinner and more prone to cracking. Also, the lids, while multi-use, may not be air tight. Finally, a regular bucket can only be used for longer-term food storage if the food is put into something else that is air tight and food grade, which defeats the purpose of having a long-term food storage bucket.

Available Food Grade Bucket Sizes and Options

Food grade buckets come in more than one size. By far the most common are 5 gallon food safe plastic buckets. Other common bucket sizes include:

  • 1 gallon
  • 1.5 gallon
  • 2 gallon
  • 3 gallon, and
  • 3.5 gallon

It is a common misconception that all food safe plastic buckets are sealed the same way. There are a variety of top sealing mechanisms, and the one you choose may be based upon how and where you want to use the container. Common top types are:

  • Flat: the top is flush or recessed below the lip of the container
  • Pop: there is a vacuum release button in the middle of the top of the container to create an air-tight seal, but at the cost of stack-ability
  • Snap-on: these can have tear strips on the side to allow the top to be opened once it has been tightly sealed (often with a rubber mallet).

Food safe plastic buckets come in a variety of sizes and options. While the most common is the 5 gallon food safe plastic bucket, there are plenty of options to meet your specific food storage needs.

For more information about 5 gallon food safe buckets, contact a food-grade container supplier in your area.