It seems to be becoming more difficult over time to get a wooden chopping board that isn't made of separate pieces of wood that are glued together.

I did find some sites discussing how to choose a food safe glue:

The latter site states "Boards that are not made with FDA-approved glues should not be used for food preparation as the toxins in the glue could leech into the food."

Is anyone aware of any studies done into whether the chopping boards generally for sale are actually safe? (For the US, does the FDA check when they are imported?)

Obviously the quantity of glue that would make it into food would be very low, and probably undetectable by taste or sight. Has anyone experienced any ill effects from using a chopping board made with glue that's not food safe?

  • This question is probably off topic for SA. Can you name a suitable non-treated wood glue that is not food safe for a proven chemical reason? Ehow is generally a source of bad information. FDA is not a global standard, and may list things as not good that are acceptable in many other countries. NZ made GluLam board may use melamine/urea, but the amount or melamine is too small to be a health hazard, and many people have melamine benches anyway!
    – TFD
    Oct 4, 2012 at 7:19
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    Sorry to disagree TFD but I found nothing in the FAQ's that made this question off-topic. Furthermore, since the OP's question includes reference to the FDA, one can assume a regional scope. While the FDA's authority may not be recognized globally, that is the OP's recognized authority for this matter. Let's be a little more generous to our members and if there's the need to "correct" or down-vote, please include some corroborating citations. What are your sources? Oct 4, 2012 at 7:54
  • I'm actually in New Zealand, so the mention of GluLam happens to be particularly relevant, though I've never heard of it before. NZ is a small country, and we tend to have much more lax regulations than elsewhere, so even if we had regulations it's likely there would be no enforcement. It's likely that the majority of chopping boards on the market here are from China. It's probably safe to say that if there are no standards anywhere else, then Chinese manufacturers won't be paying much attention to the issue. Oct 4, 2012 at 18:42
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    @HighlyIrregular Bamboo and other wood boards from China are probably glued using cheap phenol formaldehyde resin, which is highly toxic until cured. Once cured, you would have to ingest are large amount of it to get sick, or breath the smoke from burning it. Incidentally, it DOES cause immediate pain, and may also cause long term cancer. The amount you would ingest from a cutting board would be insignificant, if at all, and the toxins do not bio-accumulate
    – TFD
    Oct 5, 2012 at 1:36
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    Anyway, in NZ just buy a 20,000 year old slab of swamp Kauri and be done with it, they last for years :-)
    – TFD
    Oct 5, 2012 at 2:47

3 Answers 3


My research led me to the fact that it is the glue that gets the FDA food-safe approval or not. The Wood Whisperer's website addresses the different kinds of glues used for cutting boards:


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    You probably wouldn't know if you had gotten sick from glue in a cutting board. Besides, that's not a good measure; it's entirely possible that the more toxic glues are carcinogenic in small doses but won't upset your tummy. Oct 4, 2012 at 2:18
  • @Highly Irregular - I was just answering your question but probably should have added, "that I'm aware of". You are right, too, about not thinking about cutting board glue if I got an upset tummy. Oct 4, 2012 at 2:22
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    "I've never gotten sick from cutting board glue" - Frequently, you don't get sick from being exposed to things that shave off 5 years from your life-span.
    – Cynthia
    Oct 4, 2012 at 10:21
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    @HighlyIrregular: True, but any leaching would presumably occur in the dishwasher and be flushed down the drain. Oct 5, 2012 at 0:23
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    @padma Have you tried asking a knife and/or cookware store/retailer? Jan 9, 2017 at 10:03

Anyone who sells cutting boards knows to use FDA approved glue. From a business standpoint, it's the way to go and it's the only way you'll sell a single cutting board. That having been said, I highly doubt FDA approved glue is much different from non-approved wood glue. The glue is dry and is not gonna just seep out of the cracks, since these things are made precisely and glue in a joint is .0001"-.0005" thick. However, some woods that are often used in cutting boards are toxic (I had some serious respiratory issues when I was cutting/sanding purple heart, wenge, and padauk). Might be wise to look into that. But at the end of the day, maybe our immune systems need a little practice for when the serious problems happen.

  • Why do you think no one would use an unapproved glue if people do use unsafe woods?
    – Cascabel
    Nov 18, 2014 at 3:02
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    Respiratory issues, even serious, do not require toxicity, and a respiratory toxin may be pefectly safe to ingest.
    – Chris H
    Dec 21, 2015 at 13:18

I heard that some of the glues have formaldehyde in them. I like to use solid piece timber chopping boards with no glues or laminates because of the glues, I like to use Camphor Laurel as it has a natural anti bacterial also, there is a great mob at Byron Bay chopping boards that do this.

  • This might be useful information, but do you have a source? "I heard..." isn't that reliable, and doesn't tell us whether the formaldehyde is unsafe either.
    – Cascabel
    Jul 8, 2017 at 0:13
  • Would definitely appreciate a source for this
    – Tom
    Apr 27, 2021 at 7:55

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