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Feb 10, 2010 06:51 PM

Butcher block oil safety

I've had a hard time finding good quality hardwood mixing spoons so recently I decided to just make my own out of some maple that came down in an ice storm here in 2008 and has been seasoning ever since. That part's going fine

But while researching what to finish my spoons with most of the pro's said to avoid vegetable oils such as olive oil because they'll go rancid and affect the taste of the food, and instead use "butcher block oil". Lots of companies sell "butcher block oil" and they all claim it is safe and non-toxic for food utensils. But when I tried to find out what it is I came across this MSDS . . .

. . . which doesn't look non-toxic to me!

So how safe is "butcher block oil" for food-mixing utensils, really?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Plnelson,

    You are fine. Look, using olive oil is fine, using butcher block oil is fine. Olive will go rancid, but that is only a problem if you don't use your utensils. If you constantly use them, the oil won't able to stay in your wooden tools for long, so there is little chance of rancid. Butcher block oil is mostly made out of white mineral oil. You can just buy mineral oil from pharmacy stores. It is much cheaper. Of course if you overdose mineral oil, you will get "nausea, diarrhea ... " that is what mineral oil is sold for in pharmacy stores. That is why it is called lubricant laxative oil, here:

    1. IMO, it seems less toxic than many, many things that you use every day. Basically, don't put it in your eyes, apply it to your skin for prolonged periods, drink a lot of it, or breathe in mist droplets. Also, be careful because it's flammable. I would point out that "unscented baby oil" is something like 99.99% mineral oil.

      BTW, here's a previous Chowhound thread on this topic:

      1. Just use mineral oil from any drug store. Butcher block oil is mineral oil but more expensive.

        Don't fret over MSDSs. They are primarily designed to protect the manufacturer from any liability. Check out an MSDS for distilled water and you'll be ROFLOL!

        1. Stick with mineral oil. It is a super refined and food safe petroleum oil that serves as a base for many of the food stuffs you consume every day. While not exactly cheap, it is readily available in most grocery and drug stores.

          The "Butcher Block" oils you see advertised my manufacturers have additives like tung oil, mineral spirits, or linseed oil which may be okay but those are primarily used in paints which isn't food safe.

          As the old saying goes, "KISS - Keep it Simple" More is not always better.