Food Allergy Safe Wood Treatment

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Forum topic by chrisfw posted 06-29-2010 08:10 PM 1144 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2322 days

06-29-2010 08:10 PM

Hi all- new to Lumberjocks, without any about of real working experience other than being a cub scout…
I am a cheesemonger who works in an outdoor market in London, and in doing research into Tung oil I came across several very useful and highly informative posts in the forum. I’m looking to clarify a few matters raised by those.

Recently, we got new cutting boards for our market stall, which we treated with in April several coats of Liberon pure tung oil. Now in use since then, the boards are washed daily after use with a chlorine and alkali sanitiser. We use these boards to display the cheese, taste out from, as well as occasionally to cut on (though they are more for display).

I understand that on a simple level, tung oil is technically nut-based, and so will always be a risk given the levels of nut allergies that can occur- but in trying to find a good, allergy safe solution I was wondering several things. Firstly, will the oil always remain an allergy threat? (ie- if it has been used to treat the wood, will it remain a risk to those allergic no matter how many times it has been used and cleaned).

Secondly, if we need to find an alternative finish, can these same boards be used somehow, by applying another finish on top or somehow cleaning the boards?

Finally, I suppose the basic question is what finish you would suggest for this situation? Being in a market, on one level we have to expect that any range of allergies might come into play, so to find the best balance of all requirements.

Any and all information appreciated.

1 reply so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2493 days

#1 posted 06-29-2010 09:10 PM

I don’t have good answers for all your questions but I will make a few comments – -

It’s my understanding that the nut allergy issue only applies to peanuts. I’m quite certain that tung oil is not peanut based and, therefore, that may not be an issue.

There are oil finishes that are marketed as food safe. One is called “salad oil” and it is intended to be used to finish wood. Mineral oil is also safe. It is actually marketed for medicinal purposes but it works as a wood oil also.

Finally, Shellac is very food safe. Indeed, it is edible. However, it is not very durable or water resistant. Note that shellac is a primary ingredient in the capsules used for time release medicine.

Hope that helps a little.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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