Mineral oil

Joined Apr 3, 2008
I bought mineral oil to treat my wood cutting boards. Is it safe to cut my raw veggies on it?

Tips on how to use it welcome.
Joined May 5, 2010
The housekeepers where I used to work would bleach and oil the built in cutting boards once a week.
They used a brush with hot water and bleach and a little Dawn soap. Then allowed that to sit for a few minutes. They came back to wipe it dry. Then they put about a tablespoon of mineral oil on the block and wiped it all around. They allowed that to sit for 5 minutes or so, then came back and used paper towels to wipe away any residual oil. In this kitchen on days when the sun would reflect on the boards, they would sweat oil and needed to be wiped dry.
Another issue is if too much oil is used. Juices or moisture mix with the residual oil and is gross.

My answer to you is to be very stingy with the amount of oil you use, wipe off all excess. Oiling once a month is all you need.


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Also, be aware that there are different types of mineral oil out there. You need to make sure that you are using a "food safe" mineral oil. But as Chefross said, you only need to oil your boards every month or so. I only oil my boards a couple of times a year.
Joined Sep 5, 2008
I'm not going to say it's unsafe, but personally I don't like the idea of using petroleum products like mineral oil near my food when I can avoid it.

An alternative for your board is refined coconut oil.
Joined Dec 23, 2000
This comes up periodically. Get USP mineral oil at the drugstore and use it sparingly once a month or so. It is taken orally as a laxative, so it ain't poison. Any vegetable oil wil eventually go rancid, and I suspect - but don't really know - that coconut oil will do the same. Why take the chance?
The USP oil use is based on research papers from the Food Sciences Department at the U of Wisconsin at Milwaukee as is the thumbs down on any veggie oil.

Joined Sep 5, 2008
"Mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) from C16 to C35 may accumulate and cause microgranulomas in several tissues including lymph nodes, spleen and liver. Hepatic microgranulomas associated with inflammation in Fischer 344 rats were considered the critical effect. The no-observed-adverse-effect level for induction of liver microgranulomas by the most potent MOSH, 19 mg/kg b.w. per day, was used as a Reference Point for calculating margins of exposure (MOEs) for background MOSH exposure. MOEs ranged from 59 to 680. Hence, background exposure to MOSH via food in Europe was considered of potential concern. Foodborne MOAH with three or more, non- or simple-alkylated, aromatic rings may be mutagenic and carcinogenic, and therefore of potential concern. Revision of the existing acceptable daily intake for some food grade MOSH is warranted on the basis of new toxicological information."

Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/stor...iw&s=647dce9b80d282ed763c065e2a62c299cb362466

Why take the chance?
Joined Dec 18, 2010
I can't imagine how infinitesimally small the amount might be that migrates from a cutting board into food.
Joined Sep 5, 2008
I can't imagine how infinitesimally small the amount might be that migrates from a cutting board into food.
True enough if oiling your board was the only use of mineral oil in contact with your food. On the other hand, it just adds up along with other background exposures to petroleum products (such as the use of zip lock bags, saran wrap, styrene carry out food containers and packaging, etc etc). The cumulative effect of all those background exposures is what creates the risk – as explained in the study I linked to.

I'm not trying to say we should at all cost stay away from this stuff. Convenience sometimes stirs me toward using zip lock bags, saran wrap, styrene packaged food, and plastic soda or water bottles. But when I have an easy choice, my instinct (based only partially in science) stirs me closer to using other stuff.

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