Non Toxic Cooking Utensils – What Cooking Utensil Materials Are Non Toxic?

 
Non Toxic Cooking Utensils

Non Toxic Cooking Utensils – What Cooking Utensil Materials Are Non Toxic?

 
Cooking utensils can seem insignificant compared to cookware or dinnerware. However, choosing a non toxic material for cooking utensils are as important as choosing materials for cookware or dinnerware.  Cooking utensils are used on a daily basis for many people.  I use cooking utensils every time I cook every day.  Just like cookware or dinnerware, cooking utensils come in contact with food ever time they are being used.  Also, cooking involves heat which can affect the cooking utensil material releasing some toxic chemicals.  Therefore, choosing a non toxic material for cooking utensils may be a good idea. Then what materials are used for cooking utensils?  What should be avoided?   In this post, I share with you what cooking utensil materials are most non toxic and what non toxic cooking utensils are available. 
 
 
 

Cooking Utensil Materials To Avoid

Plastic

Plastic is not only harmful to our health but also harmful to our environment.  It is made of many toxic chemicals.  It can also release harmful chemicals such as Phthalates or BPA and cause reproductive and other diseases such as cancer.  According to a study published in Environ Health Prospect, most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals.  Moreover, toxic chemicals can be released from plastic much more and easier when the plastic is exposed to high heat.  Plastic is definitely the cooking utensil material to avoid.  Polyamide is common plastic cooking utensil material.  According to a new study by the BfR, polyamide cooking utensils can release oligomers into food when it is in contact with heat especially at high temperatures (above 70 °C).  In their report, oligomers was assessed as being toxicologically acceptable at the amount of of 5 mg/kg of food for oligomers.  23 out of 33 cooking utensils released oligomers less than 5 mg/kg of food.  However, in 10 of the 33 items exceeded 5 mg/kg of food.  The BfR recommends that keeping the contact time with hot foods (above 70 °C) short when using Polyamide cooking utensils. 

 

 

Silicone

Many people consider a silicone material inert and non toxic.  However, there is some debate whether silicone is a non toxic cooking material.  According to this one study, siloxanes (silicones) were released from silicone baking moulds. The study stated that although some foods may not release siloxanes exceeding the overall migration limit of 60 mg kg, some dish such as meatloaf released a much higher amount of migrating siloxanes from silicone baking moulds exceeding the overall migration limit.  According to FDA , liquid silicone can be harmful to your health because liquid silicone may block blood vessels.  Liquid silicone can come from injectable silicone for body contouring and enhancement.  However, it can also come from silicone utensils according to Healthline.  In high heat cooking (temperatures above 428°F (220°C), silicone from silicone utensil can melt and silicone liquid can get into the food.  Also, one study published by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, silicone baking moulds leached chemical substances when they were exposed to heat at 200-220 degrees Celsius.  At lower temperature up to 100 degrees Celsius,  migration of chemicals from the baking moulds were low but at higher temperatures such as 175 degrees, the migration from the baking moulds had high values.  Another study published in Food Additives and Contaminants showed that bake moulds can leach siloxanes when they were in contact with fat under the temperature over 350F.  There are not a lot of studies available regarding silicone yet.  However, it seems that silicone can release siloxanes under high heat.  Therefore, I don’t feel that silicone is a good material for cooking utensils since cooking often involves high heat.

 

 

Bamboo

Unlike solid wood, bamboo is often cut in to strips when harvested and bamboo pieces are glued together to make bamboo products such as utensils or cutting boards.  Most bamboo cooking utensils are made from multiple bamboo strips, not from one solid piece of bamboo unlike cooking utensils made from one solid wood piece. Glue that is used to glue bamboo strips typically contains formaldehyde.  Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.  There are few bamboo cooking utensils that are made from solid bamboo and are formaldehyde free.  Most bamboo cooking utensils are not made from one piece solid bamboo.  Just because a utensil is made of bamboo, that doesn’t mean the utensil is made of non toxic materials. You should check if they are constructed of one solid piece of bamboo with no gluing.

There are also cooking utensils that are made from bamboo composites. Bamboo composites are made with bamboo fibers and bamboo fibers are pressed together using glue.  Melamine-formadehyde resin is added so that powdered bamboo fibers stick together better and make the bamboo composite products stronger. Melamine formaldehyde resin is made from melamine and formaldehyde which are harmful chemicals.  Poor quality bamboo melamine plastic can release toxic chemicals that are harmful to the kidneys (melamine) and carcinogenic (formaldehyde). Dinnerware or utensils can be made from bamboo composites.  Austria has banned bamboo melamine eating utensils. The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg are now calling for a ban on the use of bamboo fiber and melamine products for food and beverages due to too much formaldehyde. 

 

 

Finishes That Are Not Recommended

Mineral Oil

Many wooden cooking utensils use mineral oil for their protective finish of wood.  Mineral oil prevents water absorption and does great job protecting wood from moisture.  It also doesn’t go rancid.  However, mineral oil is derived from petroleum.  Untreated and mildly treated mineral oil is toxic and carcinogenic.  It is classified as carcinogen by the World Health Organization.  When mineral oil is applied to wooden utensils or cutting boards, untreated and mildly treated mineral oil are not used.  Food grade mineral oil is highly refined.  The World Health Organization classifies highly refined mineral oil as group 3.  Group 3 means the chemical is not suspected to be carcinogenic but available information is not sufficient to classify it as harmless.  Food grade mineral oil is also generally considered to be safe by the FDA to be used in food industry as long as the mineral oil meets the FDA food regulation. However, it is still petroleum derived and some people are against using it on skin or food related items. There isn’t much information about the potential side effects of highly refined mineral oil.  Mineral oil is widely used for cooking utensils. However, if you want to avoid it, you can choose unfinished wooden utensils and apply finish of your choice yourself.

 

 

Olive, Avocado , Vegetable Oils

Olive oil, avocado oil, vegetable oils are natural unsaturated oils, therefore they are non toxic.  However, these types of oils can go rancid quickly.  Therefore, these oils are not recommended for wooden cutting boards or wooden cooking utensils.

 

 

Lacquers, Varnish, Polyurethane

Lacquers, varnish, polyurethane finish is made of harmful chemicals and they also release toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC) into the air which you can breathe in.  Lacquers, varnish and polyurethane are often used as a protective finish for wood.  Although they are not typically used as a cooking utensil finish, you want to ensure that they are not used on your cooking utensils. 

 

 

Non Toxic Cooking Utensil Materials

Non Toxic Materials: Solid Wood or Stainless Steel
If you would like to choose a wooden material, one piece solid wood would be the best for a cooking utensil.  If the utensil is made from one piece solid wood, there is no need for glue to be used.  You can also choose unfinished solid wood so that you can apply a non toxic wooden finish of your choice.
For stainless steel material, food grade stainless steel 18/10 or 18/8 would be a great choice.
 
Non Toxic Wooden Finish: For wooden cooking utensils, Fractionated coconut oil (or MCT coconut oil), walnut oil and tung oil are non toxic finish options. They are not only natural and non toxic but they also do not go rancid.
 
 
 

Solid Wood Cooking Utensils

ORG Wooden Utensils – Non Toxic Cooking Utensils 

 
Material: Hardwood beech wood
Finish: Uncoated, unglued, free of harmful paints, coatings, lacquers, glues, or petrochemicals of any kind
Set Includes: 6 cooking utensils (draining spoon, slotted spatula, corner spoon, spoon, slotted spoon, spatula)

 

 

 

 

 

ECOSall Store Cooking Utensils Set – Non Toxic Cooking Utensils

Material: Beechwood

Finish: Uncoated, unglued

Set Includes: 6 utensils (mixing spoons, flat, angled, and slotted spatula with a thin tip, great for serving, flipping eggs, stirfrying, fish, pancakes, and outdoor use)

More Info

 

 

 

 

Moliy Wooden Cooking Utensil Set – Non Toxic Cooking Utensils

Material: Beech wood 

Finish: Not lacquered and does not contain any chemicals or oils

Set Includes: 1 x Slotted Spurtle; 1 x Medium Spurtle; 1 x Mini Spurtle; 1 x Slim Spurtle;1 x Larger Spoon

More Info

 

 

 

 

BICB Wooden Raclette Spatula – Non Toxic Cooking Utensils

Material: Beech wood 

Finish: Not lacquered and does not contain any chemicals or oils

More Info

 

 

 

ECOSALL Long Handle Wooden Spatula – Non Toxic Cooking Utensils

Material: Solid beech wood

Finish: Uncoated, unglued

More Info

 

 

 

 

 

 

JJMG Wooden Spatula Cooking Utensils – Non Toxic Cooking Utensils

Material: Zelkova Wood

Finish: Unfinished

Set Includes: Two spatulas

More Info

 

 

 

 

BICB Wooden Cooking Oval Spoons – Non Toxic Cooking Utensils

Material: Solid beechwood

Finish: Unfinished

Set Includes: Small 8”, medium 10”, large 12”, and extra-large 14” cooking spoons

More Info

 

 

 

 

 

Steso Shop Long Wooden Spoons – Non Toxic Utensils 

Material: Solid wood

 

Finish: Unfinished

Set Includes:  3 Long wooden spoons

More Info

 

 

 

 

 

Stainless Steel Cooking Utensils

All-Clad Professional Stainless Steel Kitchen Tool Set – Non Toxic Cooking Utensils

Material: 18/10 stainless steel 

Finish: Mirror-polished finish

Set Includes: 4-ounce ladle, 13-inch solid spoon, 13-inch slotted spoon, 13-inch turner, 13-inch fork and Kitchen tool caddy

More Info

 

 

 

 

 

Elegant Life Kitchen Utensil Set – Non Toxic Cooking Utensils

Material: 18/8 (304) Stainless Steel

Finish: Mirror finish

Set Includes: 7 utensils (skimmer slotted spoon,serving spoon,slotted spatula turner, spatula,spaghetti server, soup ladle,in addition to a utensil rack with 6 hooks to keep it all organized)

More Info

 

 

 

OXO SteeL 15 Piece Utensil Set – Non Toxic Cooking Utensils

Material: 18/10 stainless steel

Set Includes: Spoon, Slotted Spoon, Serving Spoon, Turner, Lasagna Turner, Spaghetti Server, 12 in Tongs, Stainless Fish Turner, Stainless Steel Flex Turner, Whisk, Pie Server, Pizza Wheel, Swivel Peeler, Can Opener and Utensil Holder

More Info

 

 

 

 

 

Non Toxic Finishes For Wood

Caron & Doucet – Ultimate Cutting Board Maintenance Kit – Non Toxic Cooking Utensil Finish 

This premium cutting board oil is 100% plant-based.  It is made from highly refined coconut oil and enhanced with food grade essential oils.  It will not go rancid. 

More Info

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

Cooking utensils can be made with a variety of materials such as plastic, silicone, bamboo, bamboo melamine resin, solid wood, and stainless steel.  Among them, the most non toxic cooking utensil materials are solid wood and stainless steel.  For wooden cooking utensils, the finish on their wood is also important.  The most common wooden cooking utensil finish is mineral oil since it prevents water absorption well and it doesn’t go rancid.  However, it is derived from petroleum. Fractionated coconut oil (or MCT coconut oil), walnut oil, linseed oil and tung oil are the most non toxic options for wooden cooking utensils.   For certain cooking utensils such as a spatula, I like a solid wood material since I find wood material is great for not scratching the surface of a frying pan.  Cooking utensils such as a ladle, I love a stainless steel material.  I use both materials as my cooking utensils.  Cooking utensils come in contact with heat and food during cooking.  I don’t want to wonder every time I cook if my cooking utensil is releasing harmful chemicals into the food during cooking.  I do feel good about my solid wood and stainless steel cooking utensils.  Hopefully this post can also be helpful to you when choosing non toxic cooking utensils for your kitchen.   Happy cooking!

 

 

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If you are interested in non toxic, solid wood platform bed frames, please read my post ‘Solid Wood Bed Frame – What To Look For When Buying A Solid Wood Platform Bed‘.

If you are interested in organic latex mattress, please read my post, ‘Non Toxic, Organic Mattress – The Best Organic Latex Mattress Brands‘.

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2 Comments

  1. Jay April 10, 2021
    • go_new_mommy April 28, 2021

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