Food Safe Varnish Sealer Gloss Finish Coatings

Food Safety After Covering or Coating Handmade Crafts


Craft Varnish That Is Food-Safe or Food-Friendly

What Varnish Can You Use?

We don't know of a food-safe craft paint or varnish on the market.  PAINTS ARE NOT MADE FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.  Even face paints have strict guidelines and strict testing proceedures.

DIYers and crafter's need to remember that:

  • Most china and glass paints are for "decorative purposes" only.  This means that the paint is not food-safe and they do not pass mandatory regulations. 
  • Non-toxic does not mean "food-safe". 
  • If you are making and selling tableware or drink-ware you are responsible for ensuring you meet safety regulations for any article that is intended to come into contact with foodstuffs.  Since 20th May 2007, manufacturers and importers are required to keep and to show (on request) documentation demonstrating compliance with the limits. For example, ceramic articles intended to come into contact with (but not yet in contact with) food will have to be accompanied by a written declaration of compliance at all marketing stages up to and including retail. The declaration is not intended for consumers and therefore does not call for to labelling or packaging. 
  • Unclean, porous surfaces can be a breeding ground for potentially dangerous bacteria.
  • Other craft materials like glitter that are varnished or sealed with this product are not meant for human consumption and are unlikely to be food-safe.

 It is our recommendation that varnishes, sealers and craft coatings should NOT be used, sold or advertised as food-safe. We also recommend that users always check the manufacturer's label.

Our advice is:

  • TABLEWARE:  NEVER varnish tableware (unless it is for decorative purposes only i.e. not for eating from) 
  • DRINKING VESSELS:  KEEP your painting or decorating away from the mouth area of glasses, cups and mugs (unless it is for decorative purposes only i.e. not for drinking from) 
  • DESIGN your varnished, painted or decorated surfaces to be used for food that is protected in packaging foods e.g. decoupage a cake stand but keep the cakes in the cupcake cases or display wrapped food like chocolate bars.

Food Safe Symbol & Regulations

The international symbol for food safe material is a wine glass and a fork symbol. The symbol identifies that the material used in the product is safe for food contact.

The principle underlying this Regulation is that any material or article intended to come into contact directly or indirectly with food must be sufficiently inert to preclude substances from being transferred to food in quantities large enough to endanger human health or to bring about an unacceptable change in the composition of the food or a deterioration in its organoleptic properties. This includes food and water containers, packaging materials, cutlery etc. The regulation is applicable to any product intended for food contact whether it be made of metals, ceramics, paper and board, and plastics.

Click on the following link to read the full legislation document:  REGULATION (EC) No 1935/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 27 October 2004 on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food and repealing Directives 80/590/EEC and 89/109/EEC.

Please note that there is no specific legislation for "varnishes and coatings" included in the legislation but it is covered on the regulation's "List of groups of materials and articles which may be covered by specific measures".