Mineral oil is also used as a laxative. I don't put laxative products on my wood boards. Sure they label it as "food grade", but if it was really food grade people would cook with it? How many people hear drizzle a little mineral oil on their salad?
Coconut oil or palm oil are my go to oils when handy. I have a coconut oil beeswax blend that I'm working with right now. I look for anything that turns solid at room temperature. I've heard that the Italians oil their wood products with olive oil all the time but that could be one of those stereotypes. I believe it because it's one of those stereotypes that isn't really funny. Therefore it's not funny because it's true. Animal fats are good but I'm starting to get into rendering my own which makes it expensive.
Do you think if I used bacon grease instead it would at bacon flavor to anything I cut on the cutting board? Oh the possibilities.
Wow, just read through the rest of this thread.
All I can say is that the Amish community does not have a major problem with food allergies in contrast to the rest of the country.
It's only a laxative if consumed in copious amounts.
Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
Lyrical arsonist it's arduous spitting this smartest arsenic/
And rattlesnake poison is only deadly if the snake bites you too long.
The short answer is "yes". If you're a professional, you always have to be concerned about customers' allergies and be responsive to their dietary restrictions. If you were allergic to nuts would you want to eat food which had been prepped on a board coated in walnut oil? Would you want to run that risk, however slight, knowing full well that it might kill you?
The prudent and wise choice would be to oil your boards with another oil which will not create this hazard and avoid the possibility all together.
Funny discussion. Went from what oil do I use to food allergies to "Look what they put in ______", back to allergies then finally back to the original topic.
So here is my opinion, backed by the USDA and my own personal experience.
Mineral oil, like it or hate it, is a super refined petroleum product. Used as a laxative in large amounts, it is totally inert and non-toxic. Okay, so you hate it, it is used in tons of cosmetics the ladies use, bakers use it as a mold release in large commercial bakeries, hand creams use it as a base, baby oil uses it as a base and it is in countless other places you may not expect. Don't like it, check the labels to see if it is an ingredient then quite using that product.
Peanut, olive, coconut, grapeseed and all other natural organic oils - all contain FAT which is what goes rancid. Go ahead and use peanut oil on your commercial board and when a diner has a reaction to the slightest tint of peanut oil, you can test out your liability insurance. (BTW just to be safe I have 2 million in liability insurance just to be safe.) And, notice the experts who push a particular type of oil as being the "Best" all have some connection with the maker or are the maker. Self-serving advertising!
Linseed oil is used as a base for PAINT. It will not dry unless it has chemical driers mixed in. Those driers are TOXIC! Same with tung oil. In the raw state it will almost never dry, until those chemical driers are added.
Don't like any of the above? Use nothing! Keep your board free from oils and use salt as a cleaner. Coat overnight then brush off in the morning. VIOLA! Clean, sanitized and dry. Sadly, I'll bet someone will find something against salt.
What it all boils down to is that we try to make something more complicated than it needs to be. Discuss it at length, tear all the details apart, micro-manage the smallest of details, it all boils down to how complicated can we make a simple subject.
My 2 cents worth.
David - Formerly The BoardSMITH
Now just retired and looking for work
Well I guess that's settled. Thanks Dave. Great post.