I often get asked this question..." What should I use to finish wooden bowls, cutting board and utensils? Before I tell you what to use, let me tell you what you shouldn't.
1.) Varnish, Polyurethane, and Lacquer. Stay away from all of these. These types of finishes often contain solvents that just plain are not good for you. They will also scratch easily when using knives and forks on them. The finish that gets scratched off has to go somewhere and you are probably better off if it doesn't end up in your salad, or as seasoning for your steak.
2.) Tung Oils. Tung Oil is used fairly often for bowls and spoons, but I recommend staying away from Tung Oils as well. Here's why...Although true tung oil is considered a natural product, it is actually derived from a nut bearing tree. Some people are very allergic to nuts, especially children. So, why risk it?
3.) Shellac. I am a huge fan of shellac, but not for finishing wooden food related items because shellac is very soft and does not hold up very well. I don't like having to get out my shellac brush after every meal. The good news about shellac is that is is pretty safe if ingested. Shellac is sometimes even used to coat candy with in order to make it shiny.
4.) Mayonnaise, Cooking Oils. Here is the thing about using food products. Food can spoil and cooking oil can turn rancid. Don't use food products.
Here is what I use for putting a finish on a cutting board, wooden spoon, or wooden bowl. It's called "mineral oil". It is non toxic enough that it is often sold in drug stores as a laxative. I do not know of anyone who has had an allergic reaction to it. It wipes on easily, and can be reapplied whenever you feel the need. It will also not darken the wood like other oils will. A little goes a long way. I can generally finish 20 spoons with a pint of it. Mineral oil also has one more thing going for it too. It's really cheap. The bottle shown is under $3.00 in my online store.