Food Safe Paint

With all the toxins that exist around us, in what seems like everything…. It’s no wonder there’s been a surge in the popularity of food safe wood finishes. I mean, we have to be careful about what we ingest, right? So it only makes sense to use food safe paint finishes when we’re working on wood projects that will come in contact with our mouths, our food, or our children in any way.

I have found some incredibly interesting facts around the topic of food safe wood finishes. Not only 5 great options, but even some more controversial matter that, while I agree with what I’ve read, I’m only 50% sure that you’ll agree.

But first…
Here are the 4 main project types you should consider using a food safe wood finish on:

  1. Kitchen utensils (bowls, spoons, platters, etc…)
  2. Raw meat prep surfaces (Cutting boards, butcher blocks, etc…)
  3. Eat-on surfaces (bar tops, tables, counters, etc…)
  4. Childrens Toys.

So if your project sounds like it fits in one of these categories, then it’s worth considering using a food safe paint wood finish.

Word of Caution – before we continue, please be aware. Not all commercially produced finishes are made the same. No matter what the finish is named, it may or may not be “pure”. In other words, many options are concoctions that include solvents, thinners, dryers, metal compounds, and other popular wood-finishing ingredients. So be sure to read all labels! Also, as with any wood finish, follow instructions on the container, and dispose of your rags properly.

5 Best Food Safe Wood Finishes

1. Shellac

This is a surface sealing, natural finish that comes from the Lac bug. You can bet it’s safe to consume, they coat candy with it after all. Shellac is a film-forming finish, and provides good protection from moisture. It leaves a glossy finish if applied thick enough and buffed out.

2. Pure Tung Oil

This is one of the few popular “Drying Oils” (I’ll explain what that means below). It actually hardens as it cures and has water-resistant properties. And contrary to popular belief, pure tung oil does not affect those with “nut” allergies.

3. Food Grade Beeswax

This literally comes from the honeycomb of honey bees. There is a process used to refine it, but once complete, it’s safe for consumption. It’s commonly used to glaze fruit, as well as in the production of gel capsules and chewing gum. Avoid on surfaces that will get hot, as the wax can melt off.

4. Carnauba Wax

This is plant-based, and is considered safe for consumption because it is inert, non-toxic, and cannot be digested by humans. It’s often used for it’s “Shiny” properties, and can be mixed with beeswax to add water-resistance.

5. Food Grade Mineral Oil

This is a non-toxic, non-drying oil that is commonly used on butcher block tables and cutting boards. It must be re-applied as often as monthly, and will become brittle and crack if not maintained, so be sure to keep a bottle on hand.

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