You must have seen beautiful resin trays, coasters, tumblers, and cutting boards and wondered, are they food-safe? Can we drink and eat out of these utensils? And can we serve hot food with these utensils? This guide will provide you with in-depth knowledge about food-safe epoxy and an overview of the six best food-safe epoxy resins.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Is Epoxy Resin Food Safe?
Epoxy resin is used in making and coating various products that come in close contact with food. When buying epoxy resin for manufacturing these products, you must ensure they are food safe. To do so, you need to look at the epoxy resin composition (list of components).
Most epoxies do not contain much volatile organic compounds (VOC). However, some components can make epoxy resin unsafe. Components like BPA (Bisphenol A), Epichlorohydrin, and Carboxylic Acid are essential parts of epoxy. While buying epoxy resin, you need to look at the levels of these components.
BPA (Bisphenol A) is safe in smaller quantities. FDA has found no potential health risk associated with BPA at low levels. However, you should avoid buying epoxy resin that contains large amounts of BPA.
Epichlorohydrin and Carbolic Acid are two toxic ingredients and hence harmful to health. Epichlorohydrin is known to cause eczema, allergic reactions, irritation of the mucous membrane, paralysis of the respiratory tract, and cancer. Carbolic Acid can cause nerve body cell damage or poison the nerves if swallowed.
Therefore epoxy resin for food-related products should not contain any of these two ingredients.
What is Food-safe Epoxy?
The terms food-grade epoxy or food-safe epoxy are used to define epoxy that does not pose any health risks if it comes in contact with food. Food-safe epoxy meets the FDA requirements, contains no harmful ingredients, and has low levels of potentially harmful components.
The main requirements according to the FDA, are:
- The epoxy resin should not release any components in the food ( it is possible if the resin was not fully cured/hardened).
- The epoxy resin should not leave any odor or taste in the food ( if you smell or taste anything strange in the food, it is not safe for consumption).
- Health should not be compromised if the food is consumed from a container made of epoxy resin.
- Food composition should not be altered after coming in contact with resin.
When Do You Need Food-safe Epoxy?
With its increasing popularity in making home and kitchen products, concern about the safety of epoxy resin arose. For any products that come in contact with food, it’s suggested to use food-safe epoxy instead of normal epoxy resin, such as:
Epoxy resin is used to make cups and tumblers. They make fun DIY projects for beginners. Since they not only come in contact with food but they also come in direct contact with your hands and lips, you must ensure they are safe.
Resin kitchen countertops not only look beautiful, but they also provide a durable and long-lasting surface. Since kitchen countertops come in close contact with hot utensils, you need to use food-safe (zero or lower trace amounts of VOC and BPA) epoxy for making/coating them.
Serving trays are often used to place food and they’d better be made with food-safe epoxy. If the trays are made with FDA-compliant food-safe epoxy, they will not leech toxins and harmful chemicals into the foods.
Where to Buy Food-Safe Epoxy?
Epoxy resin is virtually available everywhere. But where to buy food-safe resin from? The key point is you need to find those meet FDA requirements. There are only a few brands selling real food-safe epoxy with FDA compliant.
Requirements for FDA Compliant
FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has certain strict set standards that must be met in order for epoxy to be considered food-safe or food-grade. To get compliant, the epoxy resin product must comply with the Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under section CFR 175 (Indirect food additive: adhesives and components of coatings) subsection 105 for adhesives and subsection 300 for resinous and polymeric coatings. Each section contains lists of raw materials that can be considered safe if they come in contact with food.
6 Best Food-Safe Epoxy Resins Overview
If you are planning on making products with food-safe epoxy, you can opt for one of these FDA-compliant food-safe epoxy resins.
Stone Coat Epoxy
Stone Coat Epoxy is the most popular type of resin that is used chiefly to make countertops. Since you need to put hot utensils and pots on countertops, you must ensure using food-safe epoxy resin on kitchen countertops. Stone Coat Epoxy is a heat-resistant, stable resin that complies with FDA food safety standards and does not contain potentially toxic content.
Ecopoxy Flowcast Epoxy Resin
Ecopoxy flowcast epoxy resin is another food-safe epoxy resin used in making resin trays and plate projects. Although the resin might not be as durable and scratch-resistant as Stone Coat, it is easier to work with for beginners.
Art ‘N Glow Epoxy Resin
Art ‘N Glow Epoxy Resin is an FDA-compliant food-safe resin that hardens to 80+ Shore D with low odor and free VOC. It is made in compliance with FDA regulations (CFR 21 175.300) and found to be completely safe for repeated, direct contact with food and food products. This makes it perfect for use as a table top epoxy, epoxy for tumblers, or to create beautiful serving trays. Many crafters use this product to create custom tumblers, coffee mugs, bowls, serving trays, and much more.
Max CLR Grade Epoxy Resin System
Max CLR Grade Epoxy Resin is another FDA-compliant epoxy resin that remains food safe unless it is overheated. If the sealant gets burned, the epoxy might affect the food making it harmful for consumption. It is used for making countertops, cutting boards, and for coating tabletops.
ArtResin Epoxy Resin
ArtResin Epoxy resin is food safe as it has undergone extensive safety and environmental evaluations. It is a BPA-free resin which means it is non-toxic and does not contain volatile organic compounds. It gives a perfect shiny finish to the products and is 100% food safe once completely cured. It can be used for making fruit bowls, charcuterie, cutting boards, serving trays, mugs, tumblers, coasters, and countertops.
ProMarine Supplies Art Resin
ProMarine art resin is a food-safe multipurpose resin. It gives a bubble-less smooth finish to the products. Since it is a food-safe resin, it can be used for anything that comes in contact with food. It is easy to work with and does not release toxic fumes or odor; hence safe for indoor use. However, you must take safety precautions while working with epoxy resin.
How to Use Food-Safe Epoxy?
Although food-safe epoxy poses no harm, the following steps should be taken while using food-safe epoxy:
1. Wear personal protective gear like a mask, gloves, and respirator while using food-safe epoxy.
2. Always work in a well-ventilated area.
3. Keep your workspace clean.
4. Be careful while mixing resin and hardener, as uneven ratios can affect the hardening process making it unsafe for food.
5. Let the resin cure completely, as the uncured resin is unsafe for food.
Food Contact, Not Food Contain
You should keep the food away when mixing, pouring, curing, drilling, or polishing epoxy resin. Food should only come in contact with a food-safe epoxy resin once the resin has completely cured. It is also not recommended to use resin containers to store food for a long time.
How to Ensure Epoxy is Food Safe?
Food-safe epoxy resin is food-safe in its cured form. To fully cure resin, you must follow instructions and the suggested ratio while mixing the resin and hardener. You are the one measuring, mixing, and pouring. It is up to you to properly measure, mix, pour and ultimately properly cure, in order for certain epoxies to be food-grade. Mix properly and let the resin rest to harden for a recommended time, depending upon the resin type. Otherwise, food-safe epoxy might not be food safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know If My Epoxy Resin Is Food Safe?
The US, EU, and several other countries have set standards to declare epoxy as food-safe. The epoxy resin has to undergo several tests before it is compliant in the food industry. Epoxy resin packaging usually bears a seal of compliant, and you must check it before buying.
Getting a safety seal is lengthy and expensive, so most manufacturers do not get their resin tested. Hence, many products in the market will not have a test seal. If you really want food-safe epoxy resin, only buy those with a safety seal.
In most cases, the food-safe epoxy available in the markets for commercial use is food safe. However, you must check the label for hazardous symbols, preventive measures, food safety grade, and toxicity-related information.
Is Food-Safe Epoxy Still Beautiful?
Being food-safe does not affect the look of epoxy and your finished product will still be as beautiful as any other resin product.
Is Epoxy Safe to Drink or Eat From?
If your products are made from FDA-compliant food-safe epoxy resin, theoretically it is safe to drink or eat off them. However, whether the resin is really food-safe depends on if it is fully cured. Also, certain food-safe epoxies are not heat-resistant, so you must be careful while bringing them in contact with high heat.
Is Epoxy Resin Safe for Cutting Boards?
Epoxy resin is safe for cutting boards, provided it has fully cured. However, we don’t recommend using resin cutting boards because they can get damaged over cutting that chipped parts and splinters can mix with the food. So make sure to be extra careful while using epoxy resin cutting boards.
Can Epoxy be Used on a Charcuterie Board?
FDA-compliant food-safe epoxy, which does not contain volatile organic compounds, does not emit toxic fumes or any unpleasant odor and is fine for making charcuterie boards.
Are Epoxy Resin Colorants Food Safe?
Most epoxy resin colorants are not food safe. Only a few brands sell food-safe epoxy colorants. For most resin colorants, the colors are made up of different materials, which, when added to the resin, can compromise safety of the resin. For example, resin alcohol inks have alcohol as the main ingredient. Alcohol is not only toxic but also flammable. When added to the resin, the resin will not be food safe anymore. If you choose food-grade resin colors instead, they can be added to the resin to keep the quality of the resin intact and remain food safe.
Is There a Replacement for Epoxy Resin for Things that Need to Be Food Safe?
When it comes to using epoxy for food-related stuff, most people are concerned about its safety. Epoxy resin can be replaced with an alternate material for people who have sensitive skin, allergies, or are simply cautious about their health. Crystalac (a water-based polyurethane), Clear Diamond Finish (a clear urethane), and 2K Clear Glamour Clear Coat (a spray urethane) can be used to replace epoxy resin for things that need to be food safe.
Is Food-safe Epoxy Safe for Microwaves and Dishwashers?
Putting epoxy resin products in the microwave or dishwasher is not recommended, even if it is food safe. Most epoxies tend to soften at higher temperatures. Putting your epoxy resin utensils in a microwave or dishwasher can compromise food safety; hence it should be avoided.
Is Food-safe Epoxy Heat Resistant?
Most epoxy resins can withstand a certain high temperature before they get damaged. But different resins have different abilities of heat resistance. You should refer to the instructions of the resin brands.
While buying epoxy resin for food-related products, make sure you get food-safe epoxy that is compliant with FDA standards. While using food-safe epoxy, make sure you follow the instructions and let the resin cure properly.