Food-Safe Finishes

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All finishes made after 1972 are food-safe when cured properly. This process can take several weeks after a film has formed. We recommend adding a couple days beyond the products label’s recommendation to allow for temperature and humidity variations. A good rule of thumb is 30 days.

Most folks are concerned about metallic dryers put into oils to speed curing. These are so miniscule in amount that they are not a worry.

As far as we know, there is no finish on the market that has been approved by the FDA as food-safe.

General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish:  

This product is very similar to another General Finishes product, Arm-R-Seal. Made from boiled linseed oil and urethane, it creates a film finish that once cured is safe. We would recommend it for use as a salad bowl finish and for similar use items. Don’t use it for cutting boards if they are intended for chopping or cutting.

Food Grade Mineral Oil: 

Mineral oil (sometimes called liquid paraffin) is a non-toxic, non-drying product derived from petroleum that is colorless, odorless, and flavorless. Its properties prevent water absorption, which makes food-grade mineral oil a popular choice for wooden kitchen items such as wooden spoons, bowls, and, of course, cutting boards and butcher blocks. The key word here is food-safe, as there are types of mineral oils that are not safe for human consumption; these are often used as lubricants for machinery or found in auto or hardware stores.


This is the most food-safe of all finishes.  It needs to be melted to apply.

Beeswax & Mineral Oil Mix:  

This mix is a very popular way to protect your project. Typically called butcher block conditioner or something similar, it is available in a wide variety of products on the market, each with a different mix of oil and wax.

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