Are Camphor Laurel Chopping Boards Safe?
The simple answer is Yes. There are a few factors that contribute to this:
- Camphor Laurel has natural anti-bacterial properties
- Our boards are handmade from a single block of wood meaning there are no joint lines to harbor bacteria.
- Our kiln dried timber process ensures the cutting boards are suitable for safe use as a chopping board or serving board.
Camphor Laurel Natural Antibacterial Properties.
Many claims are made about the antibacterial properties of cutting boards made from different materials. For example, some plastic cutting boards are impregnated with antibacterial additives.
The presence of anti-microbial chemicals in camphor laurel cutting boards raises the question of safety with regard to those chemicals contaminating food. The concentration & types of compounds in camphor wood can vary from tree to tree & between different parts of a tree.
The following compounds are found in Camphor Laurel samples:
Camphor – Safrole – Cineole – Cinnamaldehyde – Fatty acids – Mannitol – Limonene – Tannins – Terpineol -Eugenol – Pinene – Linalool, and Geraniol (3, 4)
Any of these substances can be toxic in purified form, but there is no evidence to suggest that food contact with Camphor laurel wood (particularly after curing) would produce any adverse effects.
Keep in mind though that some individuals may be allergic to the chemicals in timber, just like some people are allergic to peanuts and some aren’t.
Lavender, for instance, contains camphor, limonene, eugenol, pinene & linalool.
Eucalyptus oil is predominantly cineole.
The most toxic of the above is safrole. However, it is a reasonably common constituent of a lot of plants.
It is known to occur in about 50 other species including angelica, sassafras, nutmeg, star anise, cinnamon, cacao, and black pepper.
Other food plants containing these compounds include: Bay leaves (cineole & eugenol), cloves (eugenol), cinnamon (eugenol, cinnamaldehyde), coriander (linalool, pinene, & camphor), peppermint (pinene & limonene), sage (cineole, pinene & camphor), rosemary (cineole & pinene) [5,6,7,]. These Herbs & spices have long been used as preservatives.
Camphor Laurel Timber, as tested here, was the most effective food preparation surface with regard to reducing microbial growth. This appears to be a result of the nature of wood in general, & the presence in this particular wood of anti-microbial substances, which are also known to occur naturally in edible products.
Alan Waterson B.Sc. (Hons) Dip Ed. Test results 6th April 2002.
Below is an outline of the research findings: