Resin, Wood Finishes, and Food Safety

Resin, Wood Finishes, and Food Safety

It's the holidays and many of us will be spending more time than usual in the kitchen, and it seems like an appropriate time to share some information on food-safe finishes for cutting boards and other wooden utensils. There are so many articles and videos out there whose messages are often conflicting, I hope to clear up any confusion you may have and describe how we address food safety.

Heartwood Studios Board Butter product is "food-grade", meaning everything in our recipe has been approved by the FDA for consumption (mineral oil and beeswax). That being said I would not recommend eating it by the spoonful. Lots of things are food-grade but aren't food. All cutting boards and most magnetic knife racks and serving boards are finished with our Board Butter.

Some of our kitchen products incorporate epoxy resin, which starts as two separate liquids that when mixed together cure into a hard plastic-like material (sometimes we mix in dyes or other additives for color and texture). Everything we use is FDA approved to be in direct and indirect contact with food.

The regulations come from FDA CFR Section 175.300 which lists all the chemicals that are approved to have direct food contact. I'll call these "food-safe" (which is not a legal term). Food-safe is not the same as food-grade. Ice cream is food-grade. The spoon you use to eat it is food-safe (hopefully!). Our cutting boards are made with only different types of wood, no epoxy resin. With all the chopping and knife-scratching you'd surely end up getting some traces of resin on your food and resin is not food-grade.

Serving boards and magnetic knife boards, however, are not subjected to the same direct abuse as a cutting board, so in some of these products we like to incorporate the resin to add another artistic dimension, especially for custom pieces. Yes, the cured resin will come into contact with your utensils, cheeses, and charcuterie, but remember, the resin we use is food-safe. Some of the products only contain pockets or channels of the resin and the whole piece is finished with our Board Butter. Others are finished with a resin coat for a glossy aesthetic that really makes the textures pop. Individual product descriptions will say how each is finished.

Hopefully this post has cleared some of the confusion around food-safe board finishes and given you a more thorough picture of our reasoning and process here at Heartwood Studios. Happy holidays! I wish your meals to be 100% food-grade.


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