The Stainless Steel Law?

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smoking falcon

Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 19, 2006
So talking with a friend of the family who own a Catering outfit up here in Ohio, I learned that apparently somewhere in the law it states that if you are cooking for commercial purposes (eg fundraising) your equipment is required to be Stainless Steel. He said that refers to the smoker, but I am wondering how so many people are getting away with using things like propane tanks, large diameter steel pipes etc...

Does anyone here know what he is talking about? It was a busy day and we didn't really have time to talk about it, but I was just wondering if anyone in "this world" has any takes on this.

id suggest checking with the local health department, they usually regulate such things, and should be able to answer your question. im sure you would have to have them do an inspection prior to starting up anyway.
Dennis I do believe that this "law" or regulation applies only to those pieces of equipment used in processing food. Anything that would come in contact with food would be stainless steel like your prep tables, sinks, meat slicer, etc. This might also refer to the grills inside of your smoker but not the smoker itself.
In any case do check with the local health department.
That was one thing that was mentioned, that at the least, the cooking grate needs to be stainless.

I guess it's all logic, but if one doesn't have experience in the field, certain logic falls out the window. I'll be sure to check with some local health code people before I get too far along building the smoker...

Thanks Guys!
I agree with srmonty, there are plenty of professional smoke houses here that are built out of cinderblocks.

But if you are using a table to prepare food it must be SS, however now that I think about it they make fudge in this area and they use granite type tables so bottom line check with the local health dept
I have a contat at the Columbus, OH health department. I gave him a call, he stated the cooking grates would absoultey need to be stainless steel. The cooker, as long as food products do not touch it, is ok to be something else. This is for Franklin county though. Call your health department and talk to a field rep, ours seem to love to talk (Once they call you back at least).

Take care,

Thanks Brian!

In doing some research of my own I've discovered that it basically comes down to two things.

1. Who is inspecting / who you talk to in the health dept.

2. What your food products are actually touching.

I guess this means that I'll go ahead with my plans, make sure I have a stainless grate for the food to cook on, and make sure that the rest of my food prep areas are extra super spotless and good looking so that people don't get any ideas about complaining to anyone.

There is some real good logic behind the SS rule. It's super easy to clean and disinfect. If not useing SS I would suggest using a Polyethylene surface for things like cutting surfaces, carving stations, etc. Basically for the same reason, it's super easy to clean and disinfect. Also with the later, it won't dull your knives (a super plus). For these reasons most couny health departments require these materials for commercial food prep. Every restarunt kitchen I've been in/worked in used these surfaces. I guess bottom line is, it might be required by the health department but it's a huge convience and food saftey help to the proprieter/chef/cook, etc.
They're all very convincing reasons to use stainless. I'll have to think on that. It'll be a while before I get to dealing with the prep areas, so I guess that's a good thing. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.