Is Tung Oil Food Safe – What You Need To Consider

15. Is Tung Oil Food Safe1
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For all the information you require on tung oil finishes, continue reading.

Tung oil safety in food Once it has been cured, pure tung oil is suitable for consumption. It is the preferred finish for wooden table tops, toys, countertops, and other items. It improves the color of wood, provides excellent protection, and is environmentally friendly.

The ideal food-safe wood finish is natural tung oil, which is derived from tung tree nuts. Certain Tung oil products, however, contain heavy metals that are unsafe for consumption by people.

What is Tung Oil?

Tung oil is made from tung-tree nuts, which are native to China and South America. It is a natural drying oil that has been used for centuries to finish wood, if not for actual chopping, such as butcher blocks and cutting boards.

In addition to offering excellent protection and enhancing the color of wood, it is also environmentally friendly.

Types of Tung Oil

The three different tung oil finishes are wiping varnish, varnish mixtures, and penetrating pure tung oil. They both offer a gorgeous color and are strong and water resistant.

Pure Tung Oil

One of the most popular and well-known wood finishes in the world is tung oil, also known as Chinese wood oil. It is 100 percent food safe.

In Asia, it has been used for a very long time as an adhesive, sealant, and as a component of paints and finishes. Due to its robustness and lovely lustre, it is also one of the most sought-after finishes for antique furniture.

It produces a lovely, organic lustre that highlights the wood grain. When cured for thirty days, tung oil, an entirely natural product, is one of the best finishes for food safety. It is strong and long-lasting, making it perfect for floors and furniture.

It is simple to apply and doesn’t call for any specialized tools or abilities. The only drawbacks of PureTung Oil are that it is a drying oil, which means that improper application could result in cracks.

Additionally, it takes a while to heal, so using it requires saintly patience. Depending on where you buy it, pure tung oil can also be quite expensive.

Varnish/ Oil Blends and Wiping Varnishes

varnish blends were developed to hasten the pure tung oil’s drying times and make application easier. Artificial resins and solvents to keep the resins in solution are used to accomplish this.

If the label says “contains petroleum distillates,” know it is one of these wood finishes.

They barely differ from each other. Varnish and oil are combined to create blends. Ordinary varnishes that have been significantly thinned so they can be applied with a dry cloth are known as wiping varnishes. In a varnish, the resin holds every oil together.

Sadly, manufacturers rarely use the terms “oil/varnish blends” and “wiping varnishes” to classify their tung oil products. To distinguish them, please carefully read the application instructions.

If the instructions tell you to wait a certain number of minutes after applying the finish before wiping up or buffing off the excess material, it’s a blend varnish. If you don’t remove the extra oil, it will wrinkle and need to be sanded.

If the directions do not call for a second wipe, the substance is a wiping varnish, which dries hard and smooth. There is no need to sand.

15. Is Tung Oil Food Safe2

Which Tung Oil Finish Should You Use to Avoid Cross-contamination?

On surfaces where food safety is a top priority, pure tung oil is the recommended finish. Here’s why.

It’s a natural product– It is completely devoid of additives, making it non-toxic and suitable for use on a variety of items. The wood is shielded from rotting by being kept from drying out and by being helped to resist water. In order to avoid marking and discoloration, it is appropriate for sealing bare and unfinished wood.

It is ideally food safe– Since pure tung oil is a natural product, it makes a great choice for exterior wood surfaces like decking, children’s furniture, and other items used for food preparation.

Water-resistant – Cutting boards and kitchen surfaces that have been finished with Pure Tung oil are water resistant. Cutting boards benefit from it because they are frequently in contact with water.

It is scratch-resistant – Your cutting board will be shielded from scratches, dents, and cracks by the protective coating that tung oil gives it, allowing you to use it for many years.

It gives the surfaces a beautiful finish – The glossy finish of Pure Tung oil, which is clear and does not age like other finishes, adds beauty to your wooden countertops.

It’s effortless to Apply – Tung oil adds an exceptional level of ease to your projects because it is so easy to apply and reapply.

Using a foam brush to apply Pure Tung Oil is easy, but it is expensive and takes a while for your hands to dry.

Is Tung Oil a Food-safe Finish?

Given that it lacks VOCs and is frequently organic, tung oil is a finish that is suitable for use on food. To be safe for contact with food, it must first be cured. If not, food may become inedible due to its flavor and odor. If one is allergic to tung oil, they should also stay away from cutting boards and trays that have that finish.

Because not all Tung oil finishes are produced equally, understanding why Tung oil is food safe is essential. Certain finishes contain toxic preservatives, drying agents, and gloss-enhancers. Your tung oil finish may contain dangerous substances if it is not pure.

Preventing disappointment and complications also involves understanding tung oil allergies. People who are allergic to Tung oil react negatively when touched or when exposed to its odor. One way to find out if anyone in your home is allergic is to dab a rag in Tung oil and let family members smell and touch it.

An allergy to tung oil is unlikely to occur. On the other hand, the likelihood of receiving a Tung oil finish mixed with toxic materials is comparatively higher. You should look for all-natural tung oil if you plan to apply it to areas that will come into contact with food.

Comparison With Other Food-Safe Finishes

In addition to Tung oil, numerous other oils and waxes can be used as wood finishes and are safe for consumption. In this section, we contrast mineral oil (a common substitute), beeswax, and pure tung oil.

Pure Tung Oil Wood

Although this oil offers a stunning and durable finish, applying it without solvents is challenging. Its characteristics include:

  • FDA approved
  • Creates a resistant waterproof finish
  • Zero VOCs
  • Natural polymerizing
  • Resists acids and abrasions

Mineral Oil

The best oils for wood finishing that are also safe for consumption are mineral oils. They are transparent and emphasize the wood’s organic appearance. Mineral oil is

  • FDA compliant
  • Relatively odor-less
  • Can even be used for skin treatment
  • Made from distilled petroleum and other minerals
  • Available in refined and crude products
  • Requires regular maintenance

Is Minwax Tung Oil Safe for Consumption?

Because it contains toxic chemicals that can be consumed, Minwax Tung oil is not suitable for consumption. A Tung oil finish needs to be pure, non-toxic, and completely cured in order to be completely food-safe. Ingesting tung oil finishes that have varnish and drying agents can be risky.

Some may question whether a Tung oil finish that has been chemically injected can ever be considered food safe. Theoretically, if the finish has sufficiently dried to prevent mixing with the food it contacts, it is food safe. On surfaces where food must be in contact for an extended period of time, it is better to take no chances.


Since ancient times, beeswax has been a useful natural material. Additionally, it can be applied to wood to polish or finish it. Due to its natural composition and lack of harsh chemicals, it is a great food-safe oil finish. It does take a lot more work than other finishes though. For simpler application, it should be melted or combined with oil. Other characteristics are:

  • Non-toxic (source)
  • Provides less protection than other finishes
  • Needs regular reapplication
  • Works perfectly with additional lemon as an antibacterial agent

Danish oil is an additional option that is also kosher. Learn more in this article where we go into more detail.

Final Thoughts – is Tung Oil Food Safe?

Just like any other wood finish, tung oil has benefits and drawbacks. Its complete food safety is just one of its advantages.

The most secure option in terms of food safety is probably using pure Tung oil. Although it is difficult to apply without a solvent, solvents can also introduce undesirable ingredients into the mixture.

But when brands can add chemicals to their Tung oil products while maintaining that what they sell is a “Tung Oil Finish,” many people can make the dangerous mistake of using toxic varnish on food trays.


Which Tung Oil is Food Safe?

Pure Tung oil, also called organic Tung oil, is safe for consumption. Tung oil may be toxic if it is combined with substances that improve the finish or hasten drying time. The best way to check if a specific Tung oil finish is food safe is to look for “FDA food-safe” in its product information.

There are two options available when using tung oil as a food finish. The first is to obtain a finish that is food-safe but takes longer to cure. The alternative is to purchase a finish that is chemically enhanced, which dries much faster but may be toxic.

Is Tung Oil Food Safe for Cutting Boards?

Tung oil is food safe for cutting boards as long as the finish consists of pure Tung oil and is completely healed. Tung oil penetrates the wood deeply and doesn’t form a surface coat, so cutting into the dried Tung oil finish won’t cause damage. Therefore, cutting boards are best suited to pure Tung oil.

People’s biggest error with tung oil is assuming that all tung oil finishes are organic. When a Tung oil is labeled as “quicky-drying,” you have to be extra-cautious about its contents. In general, it is best to avoid using a Tung oil finish on food-contact surfaces unless the product information or the package specifically states that the finish is FDA food safe or 100% Tung oil.

How Long until Tung Oil is Food Safe?

After 30 to 45 days, the pure tung oil finish is edible. The all-natural oil finish takes a few weeks to fully cure and has no curing agents. People are unfamiliar with this because they assume that a finish being dry enough to touch is the same as “fully cured.”

Tung oil dries to the touch in a fraction of the time it takes to cure sufficiently to be safe for food. Despite this, tung oil is not poisonous, and even if a surface is sticky from its use, any food that comes into contact with it is still, theoretically, edible. However, you can anticipate that the Tung oil’s aroma will contaminate the food it comes into contact with for the first 45 days.

Is Tung Oil Safe for Babies?

Although some Tung oil finishes contain hazardous chemicals that shouldn’t be around infants or toddlers, tung oil itself is safe for use on babies. Before you assume a specific Tung oil finish is safe for a baby, make sure it is labeled as “all-natural” or “pure.”

One example of how some Tung oil products aren’t the same as pure Tung oil is Minwax’s own assertion that its Tung oil finish isn’t food safe.

There is a reason for the addition of chemicals, of course, and many people prefer the compromise. But the key to making a surface shiny without endangering your children’s health is understanding whether you’re using actual tung oil or varnish that contains tung oil.

How to Apply Tung Oil

Put a liberal first coat of tung oil on with a soft, clean, dry rag, a foam brush, or a natural-bristle brush. Once the porous surface has taken the first coat in, wait up to 40 minutes before applying another. Apply a second coat and let it absorb into the surface by repeating steps 1 and 2.

What is Tung Oil Made From

Tung oil comes from the seeds of several species of Aleurites, primarily Aleurites fordii, a deciduous shade tree native to China. It belongs to the Euphorbia Family (The candlenut tree belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family.

Is Tung Oil Waterproof

One of the most popular oil finishes for wood furniture is tung oil. This wood finishing product is made from crushed tung tree seeds and is entirely natural and eco-friendly.

Is Tung Oil Toxic

Tung oil is non toxic and doesn’t contain VOCs, but individuals with allergies frequently report negative reactions upon coming into contact with (or even simply smelling) tung oil.

Is Danish Oil Food Safe

Many people want to know if Danish Oil can be used in the kitchen and on areas where food is prepared because it is one of the most popular wood oils that we sell. If you don’t want to read the full blog post, the short answer is yes, Danish Oil is food safe.

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