Epoxy resins can be used in a range of different projects, from connecting electric components to making an artistic masterpiece. Form and function come together when artists use resin to make items on which food is served. For this, not only does the epoxy need to have a great aesthetic effect, but it must also be food-safe.
The best food-safe epoxies are ones that fit the FDA standards of non-interference with food. Among these, Stonecoat’s Art Coat is one that stands out because of its trusted brand, ease of working, and amazing end result. It is heat-resistant, scratch-resistant, and quite durable.
In this article, you’ll discover more food-safe options with an in-depth look at what makes each one an epoxy worth considering. Depending on your end goal with your food-adjacent epoxy project, you might pick ZDSticky Epoxy Resin, Max CLR Grade Epoxy, or Ecopoxy. By the end of this post, you’ll know which is ideal for you.
The Authoritative Standard
When you look for food-safe epoxies, you want to make sure that you’re not getting non-expert on the subject matter but are getting factual information regarding what makes an epoxy safe. Adhering to a regulatory body’s standards can help weed out the misinformation, which is why we rely on the standard set by the Food and Drug Administration authority.
According to the FDA, an epoxy resin product must fit the bare minimum criteria for food non-interference before it is considered food safe. While the standard is briefly explained here, you don’t even need to remember it if you’re considering options listed as the Best food-safe epoxy resins here. Why? Because in this article, we feature only epoxies that fit the following standards.
No Change in Food’s Smell or Taste
First of all, is the material should not change the food’s smell or taste. And that’s why if your epoxy has an odor after it’s done curing, chances are it might not be food safe.
Shouldn’t Change the Food’s Composition
It is also ideal that no crosslinked components are released into the food. So, even if the contents of the epoxy do not contain any odor or taste, they should still not be released from the resin into the food. And that’s where heat-resistant epoxies become the resins of choice for projects that involve surfaces like trays and cheese trays.
Surfaces where food might be placed often feature epoxies that do not release any contents into the food regardless of how hot the food is. Resin requirements for cold food trays are less strict because these trays don’t experience the temperature points where resin becomes unstable; cheese is served cold.
Must Feature Non-Toxic Contents
The final standard that is as obvious as it is non-negotiable is that there must be no substance present in the epoxy that presents any risk to human health.
The first product in our list of food-safe epoxies is from the market leader in countertop resins. Countertop resins are usually heat resistant because they are supposed to handle hot plates and bowls without getting destabilized. Still, they feature contents that might not be safe for human consumption.
Despite having all the features of food-safe epoxies, certain substances keep standard countertop epoxies from being food safe. This is where Stonecoat’s Art Coat variety excels because it leverages the heat-resistant stable-resin excellence of the stonechat brand and replaces problematic contents to make the product safe for the tray, table, and cup projects. You can get the same benefits like having a stable, durable, high-quality resin, but without the risk of potentially toxic contents.
Remember, an artistic food tray resin project is supposed to be food-safe, but its main goal isn’t just to be food-safe. It has to also be aesthetically pleasing. That’s where the fact that professional artists have consulted and overseen the creation of art coat resin plays an important role. It goes without saying that Stonecoat’s own brand and its insistence on making heat resistant, scratch-resistant, and UV resistant epoxies which are also pretty much waterproof, makes this an even better option.
For art projects, remember that even if the epoxy itself is safe, the epoxy product at the end of the project might not be as food-safe as the stone coat art coat resin itself. You have to be mindful that any acrylics, ink, or pigments that are added to the project are also food-safe and comply with the FDA standards.
Another excellent option is Ecopoxy Flowcast Epoxy Resin which is natural first and is widely used in plate and tray projects. It’s food-safe by the FDA standards and is quite a high-quality product though it might not beat Stonecoat due to the difference in the stature of the manufacturers and one’s insistence on eco-friendly resins.
However, its versatility and compatibility with a range of art projects mean you’ll have an easier time working with this, especially if you are a first-timer. Another interesting feature of this natural epoxy is that it, alongside having no VOCs, is conducive to tinting with color, metallic, and glitter pigment.
You just have to keep in mind, though, that this resin might not be as durable or scratch-resistant, although it is miles ahead of other options in the actual aesthetic of its finish. Ultimately you must decide whether you’re going to prioritize looks or longevity. Depending on the price point of your product, it might make more sense to craft a resin tray that isn’t as durable but is beautiful. This is ideal when the tray is supposed to be a display item and decorative more than a regular-use item.
As an artist working with non-scalable, rare products, you get to communicate with your client and know how often they plan to use products. In other instances, you can simply glean from the kind of item you’re crafting whether it needs to be scratch resistant. A plate that might have forks placed on it and may even see some knife action would likely require better scratch resistance than a tumbler. Check out this post on the best epoxies for tumblers.
Continuing with food-safe options, the third one involves an epoxy resin that is a few times thicker than the other options here, and the bottle that it comes in actually helps you pour a thicker consistency. This might be an advantage in jewelry projects, but it doesn’t seem to be a major quality differentiator for plate and tray projects. This is mainly because plates and trays are all quite flat.
If you’re Doing a river pour between two thick blocks of wood to make your cheese tray, then ZDSticky Epoxy Resin and its thicker consistency might make it the best choice. But there are a few things to consider before you hang your hat on this resin. With thicker epoxy, you always have the risk of bubbles, which means you have to make your piece with working in an extremely hot environment. It pays off because the end result is unique.
Among its unique differentiators is the fact that as ZDSticky Epoxy Resin uses German raw materials and sources them to be environment friendly and breath safe, and breath free. And once it is cured, it can come in contact with food without changing its consistency. The thickness also means that it can be used to design entire tabletops though that proposition might become too expensive, given its small plastic bottles and their price point.
This is a two-part clear epoxy resin system, which is a fancy way of saying it consists of an epoxy and a hardener. The resin system works well with cutting boards and countertops and but it can also be used for coating tablets.
As you may have noticed, the potential projects with which it can work covers a wide range of sizes. This is also reflected in the fact that it can be bought in a variety of sizes. That said, please avoid trying to work on too large a surface at once. Doing so will ruin your project because this epoxy has only 70 minutes of working time.
Moreover, it takes at least an entire day to set. Working on small portions throughout the day then leads to the gradual setting for the rest of the project as you work in 70-minute units. Aside from big projects, it is best used for cold food item containers because cold food won’t affect its sealant.
While the resin system is FDA compliant, it remains safe until overheated. When it comes to direct food contact, you cannot maintain it perpetually because the high gloss sealant can get burned. The main function of the sealant is to prevent impact damage. If the high-gloss sealant is burned, then this epoxy might start affecting the food.
That said, it’s perfect for covering porous surfaces and coating wood. You still have to use coasters, especially if you’re putting hot cups and warm plates on top of the resin. In other words, it is food safe as long as you do not take it too far.
The sealant is pretty strong and prevents absorption, is impact resistant, which lends to the epoxy’s durability. Finally, it is easily sanitizable. All in all, this resin is perfect for certain food-adjacent projects, but definitely not for putting extremely hot food on top for long periods.
Food-safe epoxy resins have become pretty common because of the utensil art revolution of the mid-2000s. When you embark on your journey to select a food-safe epoxy resin, please make sure you get ones that are either made in the US and have FDA-compliant composition or are approved by authoritative sources as being fit for trays, plates and cups.