So I build a texas star trivet today as an experiment for a new product. I ended up coating it with a clear lacquer, which looks really nice and will work for this application, but it got me to thinking about food-safe finishes in the event I ever make items that are supposed to touch food directly that aren’t made of stainless steel..
First of all, all lacquers, acrylics, etc are non-toxic and completely safe when cured, but that is different from being certified food-grade. Bottom line: if I do want to make some products that can be used safely in the kitchen for preparing food, I want to make sure that they have food-grade finishes.
I did some digging online, and have found that the best one for me would probably be beeswax (possibly mixed with mineral oil). It’s completely food-safe, and will protect the piece from rust and help it maintain it’s nice metal look. I’ve seen it recommended for metal different places and found a professional blacksmith who uses it.
Some people use flax-seed (linseed) oil to coat their metal stuff. It turns out there are two types of linseed oil: raw and boiled. The boiled has additives to it to make it cure faster, so I don’t think it’s certified food-safe, although it still is non-toxic. To be fully food-safe, it needs to be raw linseed oil.
Although it’s written for woodworkers, this article is a good resource for food-safe finishes: http://www.finewoodworking.com/how-to/article/food-safe-finishes.aspx