For most foods, contact with galvanized steel is perfectly safe. Only acidic foods should not come in contact with galvanized steel according the the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The acid in some foods reacts with the zinc coating to form salts that are readily absorbed by the body and in excess could cause a very mild sickness. So, where is galvanized steel used in food production operations? There are two primary and distinct areas, for the structural supports of a building, such as a bakery or slaughterhouse, and for trays, racks, conveyor, freezers, refrigerators, and counter-tops in direct contact with the food. Qualifying all of this discussion is the fact zinc is a necessary part of our RDA, approximately 15 mg should be a part of your daily intake. 

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Alana Hochstein


Acidic foods (such as many fruits and fish, etc.) should not come into contact with galvanized steel according to the U.S Food and Drug Administration. However, if the fruits and fish are already dried, this is likely suitable. For more information on the safety of food in contact with galvanized steel, please see the following article on our website:

Win F

I purchased a galvanized wire mesh to use in a drying box that I made to sun dry fruits and fish! is this ok?


For most foods, contact with galvanized steel is perfectly safe. Only acidic
foods should not come into contact with galvanized steel according to the
U.S Food and Drug Administration. For more information on the safety of food
in contact with galvanized steel, please see the following article on our

In long-term, continuous exposure, the recommended maximum temperature for
hot-dip galvanized steel is 392 F (200 C).  For more information:


is safe to cook a beefhead using steam in a galvanized can and what would be the temperature using propane vs wood

Hector Hernandez

i have a porkert 5 meat grinder but but how can i have it repaired in the ny/ nj area?

Laura Hanson


You should refer to the FDA food code. Specifically, section 4-1-1.15 notes that galvanized surfaces should not come in contact with acidic food.


Can anyone guide me to any document from fda advising that it is safe for food prep areas to use galvinised sheets. Eg splashbacks etc

Alana Hochstein

Hi Gabrielle,

Please refer to our White Paper:  Zinc in the Soil Environment, which explains how the zinc has limited bioavailability in the soil, but also discusses how soil pH, organic matter content, and other soil characteristics can affect zinc’s ability to be taken up by the plant:

Gabrielle Robichaud

I am planing on making an indoor wooden wall planter.  I want to build the exterior of the planter in wood, and on the bottom i would put a sheet of galvanized metal. (to make sure the water would not leek out) 

The earth in witch the plants would be growing would be in contact with the galvanized metal.  Is there any health reasons, why i should not use galvanized metal in this context?

Thank you very much

Alana Hochstein

Hi Avelino,

Oils and greases which contain animal or vegetable fats should be avoided in contact with galvanized steel.

Avelino catamen

Is a galvanized sheet metal ok to use on a wall as a back splash between a stove a exhaust fan. Mainly to protect the wall from grease splashing on the wall.

Lynn Shepard

Can I use a galvanized bucket I bought at Walmart for my pasta salad I am making for. a wedding it does have oil and Italian dressing in it


I purchased a fee galvanized buckets to use as presentation and serving crab boils and the sort.. is it safe to serve these kinds of food in these buckets??  Crabs, prawns, corn, bread pepper sauce, etc


We made raised garden boxes with galvanized sheet metal and pressure treated wood. Is there any concern with growing food in boxes made with galvanized sheet metal? Thank you.


Zinc itself is not poisonous but cooking with it is not recommended because it can unbind from its under-material or breakdown with other materials that it may have been mixed with when applied. Same goes for acidic food stuffs. Dry goods are fine. Water is fine.

Alana Hochstein


Island counters are likely to require constant cleaning, but the zinc coating must undergo natural weathering to develop the protective patina which helps combat corrosion.  Constant washing/cleaning of the surface may not allow this layer to develop over time. Furthermore, abrasive cleaning (scrubbing) should not be performed.

Acidic foods should not come in contact with the surface according the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Additionally, vegetable oils in contact with zinc should be avoided for long periods of time.


Is it safe to use a kitchen island covered with a sheet of zinc? And will it rust? Thinking about buying an island for my kitchen with a zinc top that is hand nailed and wrapped. Thought?

Laura Hanson

Your food should be safe and there is no way for us to estimate how hot the steel may get.

Since the galvanizing appears to be coated, we are not able to make any predictions for the performance of a coating other than galvanizing. Please check with the manufacturer.


Andrea S

Purchased a 10 gallon Artic Boy made of galvanized metal but appears to have a coating on the metal inside.  Is it safe to drink out of?


I am doing a in the ground pit beef BBQ. I will wrapping seasoned beef in foil, then wrapping foiled beef in burlap sacks, then placing sacks in a galvanized steel bucket and lowering that into a 5 ft deep pit with is filled with hot coals. covering pit to cook for 18+ hours. would my meat be safe and how hot do does the steel get? thank you for your help!


Vegetable oils should avoid contact with galvanized steel for storage.

The industry-recommended limiting service temperature for galvanized steel is 390 F, where the coating will begin peeling.  In a propane flame, temperatures can exceed 3,500 F depending on how close the flame is to the burner. Therefore, this is not likely a suitable application.

Acidic foods (such as pineapple juice) should not be stored in galvanized steel according to the U.S Food and Drug Administration.

Mwanaomo M

Will it be safe for me to use galvanised containers to store purified used vegetable oil for reuse at a later stage?

Heather Hackley

Is it safe to cook crabs/oysters in a galvanized foot tub over a burner with propane?


I purchased a steel galvanized tub, bushel basket size, to use as a “punch bowl”...the punch is basically pineapple juice & ginger ale. Now I am worried this may not be safe…please advise ASAP. Thanks!  Craig


Scientists say galvanized metal is absolutely safe for food products, if they don’t contain any acidic elements. You can make sure of it yourself!

Niki Trevino

Bought a vintage 3 gal galvanized igloo cooler and want to use it for ice water at picnic is it safe to use please let me know I don’t want anyone to get sick from it thank you for your time

Rajiv de Silva

On the subject of GI, I have a slight signs of corrosion on my jeep floor boards, side baffles and chassis from driving off road and on saline sand and with wheel projectiles under brush and debris hitting it.
Can I just wire brush and hit that with a cold galvanizing paint.
Here is the real question if I do that will the cold galvanizing offer cathodic protection to my entire vehicle.
How many points and ounces of zinc do I need to spray on.

My earlier Toyota fell apart in 7 years due to corrosion.

Rajiv de Silva

Hi Christine,

On the subject of food contact applications, is there a way to keep the aesthetics of hot dipped GI with a clear coat of a protective lacquer. If so what are the type of coatings and application methods recommended.


Kathleen Herman

I purchased these farmhouse, rustic looking cannisters (set of 3) that are made from galvanized metal.  I wanted to use them for flour, sugar, etc.  but there is a slight chemical odor on the inside. I haven’t washed them yet which may make a difference. I just wanted to know if I can use these or just have them for show, which would really be stupid.  Thanks for your help.

anders Holmberg

We bought a galvanized bucket to use for “glögg”. a swedish alcoholic beverageögg (unfortently not avaliable in english but the poctures might get you an idea)

Basicly we let spices, a special type of soda close to beer and sugar mix together and stay for 4 weeks in it.
Should we be worried?

R. Berkheiser

I am thinking of using galvanized steel flashing to convert my weber grill to a pizza oven. I suppose the temp could get upwards of 700 degrees ... Is it safe to cook a pizza

Laura Hanson

Hi Patty,

If you are worried about the acidity of the foods on the serving trays, laying a piece of foil down under the food would be a good way to ensure the food remains safe. Even if you decide not to use foil, I don’t think you will have any issues with anyone getting sick since the food will be in contact for a short amount of time.

Patty McDonald

I do special events, and I purchased this 3 tier galvanized serving tray I was hopeing to use to put like onions, pickles etc…. but now I’m afraid to after reading this.  If I put foil over the top of these trays would it help and I would not have to worry about the possibility of no one getting sick?
Thank you for your help in this matter.

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