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Is Tung Oil Food Safe 10 Things You Need To Consider

If you’ve been researching food-safe finishes, you’ve probably seen Tung oil mentioned a few times. After all, it seeps deep into the wood and doesn’t sit on the surface. I needed a good food-safe finish for a salad bowl I’m making so I have put together this article that answers is Tung Oil food safe?

Tung oil is food safe only if it is free of drying agents and gloss-enhancing chemicals. Moreover, it takes 45 days to cure, during which the oil can seep into your food and modify its flavour and aroma. If you use Tung oil on a serving tray, you should wait over a month before putting food on it.

In this article, you will discover everything you need to know about Tung oil and food safety, including the specific brands that have Tung oil finishes you must stay away from. I will also get into Tung oil’s compatibility with child safety. But first, let’s explore the ten things that you need to consider before you apply a Tung oil finish on a food-adjacent surface. Something not right

10 Things To Consider Before Using Tung Oil as a Food-safe Finish

If you want to use Tung oil for something that will come into contact with food (like a cheese tray or a chopping board) or on a surface where food might fall (like a kitchen counter or a dining table), you should ask yourself these 10 questions.

Brands matter when it comes to Tung oil because some manufacturers adulterate their products with chemicals that shouldn’t be in contact with food.
If the surface needs to dry quickly, how long do you have? – Use a different food-safe coating if you need it in a hurry (less than a few days).
Tung oil’s cost to cover a given area can vary widely depending on the size of the surface. Because it penetrates the wood, you’ll need a lot of it to achieve noticeable results on the surface.
Is there anything else besides Tung oil? – If you’re using a Tung oil finish on a surface that comes into contact with food, you must exercise extreme caution and have zero tolerance for any additives.
Does anyone know if Tung oil has a waterproofing effect? Knowing that Tung oil is remarkably watertight will help you make the call to use it on cooking surfaces that will get wet.
Can Tung oil go bad? Understanding the lifespan of Tung oil will help you determine how often the finish needs to be restored. On average, the finish must be refreshed every six months.
How will you apply the finish? – Whether you’ll rub the Tung oil or use a different application method will affect how long the oil will take to dry.
What are the alternatives? – Knowing other food-safe finishes like polyacrylic can help you avoid settling for Tung oil if it is not the best choice.
How often will the surface be used? – Depending on the extent of surface usage, the finish will wear out sooner or later.
Is Tung Oil safe for babies? – Whenever you get a specific Tung oil finish, you need to ensure that it is safe for babies and how long you need to keep a surface out of their reach after it has been coated in Tung oil.
Ian @ Davenports Handmade @clocksncandles
Good afternoon everybody. Here is today’s finished project a small bowl made from sapele and finished with food safe tung oil so it can be used. This one isn’t going on the website as I’m not 100%happy with it as it broke of the lathe before I had finished shaping inside. https://t.co/vZlmNis2kY
6:37 PM · Jun 11, 2020 23 8

Is Tung Oil a Food-safe Finish?

Tung oil is typically organic and free of volatile organic compounds, making it a suitable finish for use with food. However, curing is required before it can come into contact with food without risk. Without refrigeration, its stench and flavour can render meals undrinkable. In addition, those with a Tung oil allergy should stay away from cutting boards and trays that have been polished with Tung oil.

Because not all Tung oil finishes are created equal, understanding why Tung oil is food safe is essential. Toxic preservation agents, drying agents, and gloss enhancers are used in some finishes. Your Tung oil finish could be contaminated with harmful substances if it is not 100% pure.

As with other allergens, being aware of the potential for reactions to Tung oil can help you avoid frustration and trouble. Those with a sensitivity to Tung oil will experience symptoms upon coming into contact with the oil or smelling it. You can see if any of your loved ones have an allergy by soaking a rag in Tung oil and passing it around for them to smell and touch.

Tung oil can be used as a cooking oil after it has been allowed to dry for at least three days, but you should only use oil that specifically states it is “Pure or 100%” Tung oil to avoid any health risks.

To be allergic to Tung oil is quite unusual. However, there is a greater likelihood of acquiring a Tung oil finish containing toxic substances due to its mixing with other oils. You should look for natural Tung oil if you plan to use it on food-contact surfaces.

Keith Hoey \[email protected] A Hoey
I took advantage of the wet weather to return to the shop and finish making a batch of pastry rolling pins.
Cocobolo is used in their construction, and they are finished with tung oil (food safe). Both can be used to roll out dough as thin as 1/8″ or as thick as 1/4″. https://t.co/0ErzWHzJS7
7:38 PM · Jul 28, 2021 4 \s1

Is Minwax Tung Oil Food Safe?

Due to the presence of chemicals that are harmful if ingested, Minwax Tung oil is not suitable for use in food preparation. Pure, non-toxic, and fully cured Tung oil finish is required for complete food safety. Varnish and drying agents found in some tung oil finishes can be toxic if ingested.

Both a light and a dark Tung oil finish are possible.

All Natural Tung Oil

Tung oil, which is completely natural, takes longer to dry but is completely safe to use with food right from the start.

Boiled With Drying Agents

The second kind is cooked with chemical drying agents and gloss boosters. While modified finishes like Minwax Tung oil dry more quickly, they should be maintained away from edible items.

Some may doubt that a Tung oil finish infused with chemicals may ever be considered suitable for use in the kitchen. Generally speaking, finishes are considered acceptable for consumption if they have dried sufficiently to prevent any more chemical reactions with the food they come into contact with. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t take any chances with surfaces that will be in constant contact with food.

The following chart describes which materials can and cannot be treated with Minwax Tung Oil.

Surface Finish Rationale
Shelves and frames for windows
Tung Oil Minwax
Has limited contact with edibles.
A table placed next to the bed
Product Description:Minwax Tung Oil
It’s possible that something edible could land on it, but it wouldn’t stay there for very long.
Study desk or table
Tung Oil Minwax
Not a lot of people are going to be in close contact with their meals for very long.
Kitchen counter All Natural Tung Oil
Even if there isn’t much time spent in contact with the food, it happens frequently enough to be a concern.
a chopping block
100% Pure Organic Tung Oil
The result of prolonged interaction between food and stomach.
Natural Tung Oil Cheese Tray
The cheese keeps touching the final product.
Stool
Product Description:Minwax Tung Oil
To avoid contacting food
The Arms of the Chair
Product Description:Minwax Tung Oil
It’s not common practise to eat with chair arms nearby.
Bed frame
Product Description:Minwax Tung Oil
Beds and food are kept separate
Surfaces that are compatible with Minwax Tung Oil
Ian @ Davenports Handmade \[email protected]
This is my first creation of the week. A stunning walnut platter, with only the barest essentials. Circumference of eight inches; tung oil coating is acceptable for use with food. #craftbizparty
https://t.co/3jltUa3xFO https://t.co/GRdHqNHIoE
1:05 AM · Jul 13, 2020 4 \s4

Which Tung Oil Is Food Safe?

Natural Tung oil, often called pure Tung oil, is completely safe for human consumption. Tung oil becomes poisonous when it is combined with additives used to speed up the drying process or enhance the final appearance. The phrase “FDA food-safe” should be present in the product description if the Tung oil finish is approved for use with food.

There are two distinct ways to use Tung oil as a finishing oil for cuisine. One option is to achieve a finish that is both more time-consuming to cure but also safe for consumption. The alternative is to use chemicals to provide a surface that dries quickly but may be harmful to human health.

Tung oils that I use don’t pose any health risks to humans or animals when prepared properly. Mineral and Tung Oils Can You Tell Me Where I Can Get It?
Genuine Milk & Paint’s Tung Oil (1 Gallon, 3.7 Litres)
AMAZON
Hope’s 100% Pure Tung Oil (16 Fl Oz)
AMAZON
The Tung Oils I use and recommend are listed below.
In most cases, the chemically treated finish will stay longer and look better than traditional Tung oil. This is especially true for surfaces that have food in contact with them for extended periods of time. Pure Tung oil, on the other hand, is far safer for human consumption, but it does not last as long, look as well, or withstand water nearly as well as a Tung oil finish with preservatives.

Neither form of Tung oil is better than the other. When it comes to pure Tung oil, only use it on surfaces that will be in close proximity to or in direct touch with food. Tung oil that has been treated with preservatives is preferable for use on practically any other surface.

Watch this video to see how Minwax Tung oil performs on Walnut wood, and learn a fun new way to spell “tung oil.”

Black Walnut Oil on the Tongue
Tung Oil on Walnuts: A Video
The huge Borders Forest Trust @BordersForest 25th Anniversary hamper comes with one hand carved spoon, made with an axe and a knife and coated in food-safe tung oil.
Ideal for topping your morning oats.
https://t.co/7kIqBlecYw \[email protected] https://t.co/IYOl73vGf4
12:25 PM · Nov 11, 2021 5 \s2

Is Minwax Food Safe?

While Minwax advertises food-safe finishes and products, the vast majority of their coatings are not suitable for use around food. As an example, Minwax Tung oil is extremely poisonous if swallowed at all. As a matter of fact, its vapours and direct contact with the skin both cause complaints.

An FAA paper from the University of Illinois states that there are dangers associated with using Minwax Tung Oil beyond just ingesting it. Its vapours are harmful to breathe in, and prolonged skin contact can trigger an allergic reaction in some people.

Since this is a scholarly resource based on an impartial evaluation of Minwax Tung oil, the data it contains can be trusted to be accurate. This demonstrates that not all Minwax finishes are appropriate for use around food.

Those guys at Men In Sheds Cowes (@MenInShedsCowes) are the best.
Jay treats his oak cheese board with 100% Tung oil. This unadulterated form is acceptable for consumption but should be avoided by those with nut allergies. 🧀🥜
Men in sheds, Cowes, the Isle of Wight, Cowes, and the National Lottery. https://t.co/11IBNWuV2U
3:16 PM · Oct 16, 2020 2 \s2

Does that mean Minwax, in general, is not food safe? No.

The Polycrylic Clear Satin Finish from Minwax has the highest food safety certification, but all of their polyacrylic finishes are acceptable for use around food.

In order to be utilised on any hardwood surface, the Polyacrylic finish must cure completely before it is considered food safe. The polyacrylic-coated surface is dry to the touch in 2 hours and fully usable after 25 hours.

Here is what the Minwax polyacrylic finish looks like:

Is Minwax Tung Oil Really Tung Oil?

While similar to traditional Tung oil finishes, the Minwax variety has some key differences. It mimics the look of pure Tung oil, but it’s actually made with quick-drying agents and other chemicals that can be harmful, cause skin irritation, and produce unpleasant fumes as they cure.

Does it make Minwax Tung oil a second-rate substitute for the real thing? Actually, that’s not always the case. The drying time for Minwax Tung oil is much shorter, and its durability and water resistance are both significantly higher. However, unlike natural Tung oil, it can’t be used directly on food, therefore it can’t be used on most cooking surfaces or utensils.

The Official Twitter of Real Milk Paint Co.
Earlier this week, Instagram user @sparks.spoons carved this gorgeous plum ladle, and we can’t get enough of it! Because it follows the grain of the wood it was made from, its organic curve is quite appropriate. Pure Tung Oil and shellac, both suitable for direct food contact, were used for the final coating.
Upload your work and tag it with #realmilkpaintco https://t.co/vVOywYqq72
10:32 PM · Jan 25, 2022
0 \s0

Is Tung Oil Food Safe for Cutting Boards?

As long as the finish is 100% Tung oil and has been cured, Tung oil cutting boards are safe to use around food. The knife action will not damage the cured Tung oil finish because it penetrates deeply into the wood and does not form a surface covering. As a result, authentic Tung oil works wonderfully for cutting boards.

Many people’s first impression of Tung oil finishes is that they are entirely artificial. Tung oils advertised as “quicky-drying” should raise extra concerns about their quality. Tung oil finishes are not recommended for use on surfaces in contact with food unless the packaging or product material specifically states that they are FDA food safe or made entirely of Tung oil.

Mrs. Upcycle, Sue Need (Hartley) Ned \[email protected]
Nick crafted these lovely solid oak charcuterie boards then polished and oiled them with Tung Oil, a substance that is safe for use with food. Our Etsy shop sells these wonderful items. Shop link can be found in the bio. ♻️🌏 Hashtags: #charcuterie #charcuterieboard #solidoak #upcycled #charcuterie #etsyhandmade https://t.co/NtMbR0PQqp
9:29 PM · May 1, 2021 8 \s0

Although it is not as necessary to avoid mixed Tung oil finishes on table tops or kitchen countertops, it is crucial on serving trays and cutting boards.

How Long Until Tung Oil Is Food Safe?

After 30–45 days, the pure Tung oil finish is completely safe for consumption. The natural oil finish does not contain any curing agents, therefore it needs to cure for a few weeks before it can be used. Most people don’t know this because they confuse “dry enough to touch” and “completely cured.”

Tung oil can be handled after a shorter curing period than other oils and is considered food safe immediately. However, Tung oil isn’t poisonous, therefore theoretically speaking, anything that meets a sticky Tung oil surface is still safe to eat. Tung oil’s scent will permeate food it comes into touch with for up to 45 days.

To follow Anthony Cody on Twitter, go to: @AnthonyCody.
A yew wood bowl I produced on a lathe and polished with tung oil, which is safe for use with food. https://t.co/NkUt9C6LQb https://t.co/oSOS29YeLg
6:04 AM · Feb 18, 2022
2 \s0

Is Tung Oil Safe for Babies?

Babies can safely use Tung oil, however certain Tung oil finishes contain compounds that are harmful to young children. Make sure the Tung oil finish you choose is labelled as “all-natural” or “pure” before giving it to a newborn.

One example of how certain Tung oil products differ from pure Tung oil is Minwax’s claim that its Tung oil finish isn’t food safe.

There’s a good reason why chemicals are added, and plenty of consumers don’t mind the trade-off. To make a surface bright without endangering the health of your children, you must know if you are using true Tung oil or varnish that features Tung oil.

Final Thoughts – Is Tung Oil Food Safe?

Like any wood finish, there are benefits and drawbacks to using tung oil. It’s beneficial because it’s completely safe for consumption. However, many people make the potentially fatal mistake of applying poisonous varnish on food trays because manufacturers can add chemicals to their Tung oil products while still maintaining that what they offer is a “Tung Oil Finish.” On surfaces that will come into contact with food, be sure to apply only pure Tung oil and not Tung oil varnish.

 

 

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