Is it safe to cook with wooden utensils? Here’s why they can be dangerous to your health

Is it safe to cook with wooden utensils? Here’s why they can be dangerous to your health

Many people may prioritise aesthetics when it comes to buying utensils.

Notice a beautiful set that’s affordable?

Just take my money.

And when buying cooking utensils, some of you might be looking for those that won't scratch your non-stick pots and pans, such as silicone or wooden utensils.

But do you know… Some materials can actually be harmful to our bodies?

Silicone or plastic utensils, for example, can melt under high heat and leech toxic chemicals into your food.

Wooden utensils can also become health hazards if they are of low quality or are poorly made!

Here’s how:

1. Poor-quality wood might turn mouldy in a humid environment — you could be cooking with toxins!

If you buy low-quality wooden kitchenware, some may grow mould if they are kept in a humid environment for a prolonged period of time.

And as most of you already know, here in Singapore and Malaysia, the humidity level is often very high!

This means… higher chance of mould growing on poor-quality wood.

And do you know that exposure to mould for an extended period of time can lead to allergies and respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, itchy eyes and skin? According to the CDC, severe reactions to mould can include fever or shortness of breath.

Mould can also produce toxic chemicals called mycotoxins, and if you are using mouldy utensils to cook, this means you could be accidentally consuming these toxins!

Mould and mycotoxins can cause disease and even death when consumed, depending on the amount consumed and the health of the individual.

On the other hand, good quality teakwood utensils are generally mould-resistant. They are also highly insect-resistant due to their high natural oil content.

Simply hang them to dry after washing (and keep them clean and dry) – and they can remain mould-free at regular room humidity even in Southeast Asia.

2. Shiny glaze? Non-food-grade glazes are unsafe when exposed to high heat!

If you’ve been shopping for wooden homeware, you might have realised that some utensils have an exceptionally shiny finish.

Looks appealing?

Actually, this layer of glaze is usually either a layer of synthetic polymer (such as plastic) or at times, non-food-grade glaze.

And they are actually not safe for consumption!

Do you know that when high heat is applied, say when you are deep frying food, this layer may melt and seep into your food?

So be careful whenever you come across utensils that look suspiciously glossy!

3. They might be artificially dyed brown and the dye can seep into your food

Wooden utensils have an appealing aesthetic because of their golden brown colour.

But did you know that some low-quality kitchenware might be dyed brown to make it appear to be of higher quality?

If you boil them, you might actually be able to see the colour come off in the water!

Imagine you’re boiling soup and the dye goes into your food!

On the other hand, teakwood utensils have a natural premium look – their natural wood grains are beautiful, and they do not need any dye to make them look better.

To maintain teakwood utensils in tiptop condition, you just need to occasionally apply natural oil or food-grade beeswax. Any teakwood that looks “old” will be restored to its original golden brown colour and look as good as new!

4. Low-quality wood can crack and cause splinters – and enter your child’s food!

Low-quality wood utensils might end up cracking easily over time due to wear and tear, or when there is impact against a hard surface.

This is because cheaper wood is more brittle – since they are poorly made by having several pieces of wood pieced together.

Cracks may cause little splinters to appear, just like what you might find on some takeaway disposable chopsticks!

Can you imagine if these splinters go into your food or your child’s?

Children might miss it easily, and these can be health hazards if consumed.

They can also get lodged in children’s mouths or throats!

Opt for premium quality wood such as natural teakwood cooking utensils

Wooden utensils are still very popular today.

They don’t easily scratch the surfaces of your non-stick cookware, unlike stainless steel. They also don’t release toxins when exposed to high heat, unlike silicone.

And they have that zen Japanese aesthetic.

While low-quality wooden utensils can be dangerous for your health, teakwood utensils check all the boxes of being a much safer option and still aesthetically pleasing!

They are also highly durable and long-lasting, so your wallet will also thank you!

Now, you can whip up your family meals with a peace of mind, knowing no toxins are getting into your children’s food!


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