Epoxy resin is no doubt a game-changer in woodworking, but it’s undeniable that it has its chemical components. With all the safety concerns that come with it, it’s only natural to ask if the epoxy resin is food-safe.
In this post, I’ll delve into the food safety aspects of epoxy resin and address some prevalent myths surrounding its use.
Food Safe Epoxy and FDA Compliance
Since today’s woodworking products include detailed specifications, identifying a food-safe resin isn’t as hard as before. However, even with these labels, it’s important to note that users still need to find the right mixture, ratio, and curing duration to make epoxy resin food safe.
Because of this, I can’t stress enough the importance of adhering to the product’s guidelines. To ensure the epoxy resin is fully cured and safe, it’s essential to respect the specific curing time indicated by the manufacturer.
You should also be mindful of the additives you mix with it. Even if you’re using a food-grade epoxy, the pigments or dyes you added to its mixture will make the overall construction not food safe.
If that happens, you can always make another mixture and apply a new coat of epoxy resin on the dyed surface to make it suitable for food contact.
Is Epoxy Resin FDA-approved?
In the United States, epoxy resins don’t have FDA approval for direct food contact. Some products may be FDA-compliant with food-grade labels, but it doesn’t guarantee they’ll yield a safe epoxy resin surface.
However, it’s unlikely for the Food and Drug Administration to declare epoxy food safe. Why? Because the product’s safety highly depends on how the user handles its additives, application, and curing.
You may not know, but epoxy resins are made from Bisphenol A (BPA) or Bisphenol F (BPF). Besides high-quality coating resin, the food industry has been using these substances to create polycarbonate plastics for canned foods and water bottles.
It didn’t take long until studies showed that exposure to epoxy resins  could cause specific health problems.
Some products even carry volatile organic compounds, so it’s not the safest material to be in contact with food.
If it’s any consolation, epoxy food-grade options contain lower VOCs and BPA substances than other products. And as long as it undergoes the proper process, it’ll yield a non-toxic and food-safe surface.
Food Safety Standards of Epoxy Resin
Although epoxy resins are from the same raw materials, these products underwent different manufacturing procedures. My best advice is to buy an epoxy resin with FDA approval, so you can ensure that the product is tested based on food safety standards.
It will confirm the product’s changing attributes during the application and curing process. For example, the test should show if the epoxy resin still produces VOCs and BPA substances after curing.
The findings should reveal that the levels of VOCs and BPA are low to none, or it won’t guarantee that the product is safe as a food contact surface.
Epoxy Resins That are Food-Safe
Pin-pointing epoxy resin food-safe products can be a bit complicated, especially since the product isn’t exactly non-toxic or eco-friendly. Fortunately, specific FDA codes will help you identify if an epoxy resin is safe for food contact.
FDA Codes and Samples
FDA CODA 21CFR175.300
Based on this safety standard, resinous and polymeric coatings are safe for contact with food as long as their intended use follows prescribed conditions.
If the utilization of the product falls under production, packaging, transportation, treatment, or preparation, then it should be okay for direct contact with food.
It’s worth noting that epoxy resin under this FDA code isn’t safe for surfaces used for cooking and pouring. However, you can still rely on it to provide protective coatings on serving trays, counters, and tabletops.
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Curing Epoxies to Make them Food and Risk-Free
Even if you’ve invested in a food-grade material, the key to ensuring epoxy resin is food-safe lies in proper curing.
It would be best if you allowed the applied area to harden for several days or weeks, depending on the recommended duration on the product’s manual or label.
Besides food safety, proper curing will make the surface heat and scratch-resistant. It will also produce maximum UV-resistant materials. (Know more about heat-resistant epoxies here!)
Are Food-Safe Epoxies Beautiful?
You don’t need to worry because food-safe specifications won’t affect the material’s final aesthetic. Many woodworkers prefer using epoxy resin because it has excellent resistance to yellowing and provides an attractive high gloss that lasts for a long time.
If you want to achieve a high-gloss finish on wood, read this guide!
My Top Food-Safe Epoxy Resin Recommendation
Nicpro Crystal Clear Epoxy Resin Kit
I’ve had good experiences with the Nicpro Crystal Clear Epoxy Resin Kit for various casting and coating tasks. It delivers a transparent and lasting finish, and the best part? No dealing with noxious fumes.
You can also use this product with other pigments like resin dye, alcohol inks, and silicone oils.
My Top Resin Color Recommendation for Food-Safe Epoxy Resin Coloring
Soap Shop Mica Powder for Epoxy Resin
This mica powder is your budget-friendly solution if you want to add a dash of color to your epoxy resin application. Not only does it act as a great color pigment, but it also infuses the finish with a shimmering, iridescent effect.
I’ve used it numerous times already and it gave consistent, pleasing results every time.
Safety Precautions to Consider
Is epoxy resin safe for cutting boards?
Yes, epoxy resin is safe for cutting boards as long as the product belongs under the food-graded or food-safe category. It creates a smooth, non-porous surface that can protect the cutting board from moisture and bacteria.
If you’re working on wooden charcuterie boards, your product should have a specific formulation for wood materials.
Can you drink from a resin cup?
Yes, you can drink from a resin cup if the product allows safe food contact. You can confirm it by checking the labels because some resins are toxic and can cause harm when ingested.
Besides checking the labels to check if your epoxy resin is food safe, don’t forget that proper application and curing still determine its safety.
I urge you to be cautious with this task because these chemicals can cause more harm to your health than you think. After all, practicing caution is still the golden standard of any woodworking project.
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