There are several reasons why wooden tools are not approved for food use.
Number one is the porosity. It absorbs water, flavors, odors and chemicals. It never discriminate whether it is food or not. A wooden ladle absorbs chicken flavor when used for cooking tinola. Chili hotness remains on wooden chopping board after several washes. There are chances of minimal flavor transfer in between menus. Becomes dangerous when accidental stored near pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Since it is very absorbent, washing may only dilute the danger, but not completely eliminate.
A microbial breeding ground. Wood plus moisture plus adhering food debris is an ideal microbial breeding ground. We can always hope to wash them away or disinfect, but, the number one problem will come into play.
Number 3. Wood has the tendency of chipping and shredding. Do you notice how fast a wooden ladle worn out. The middle of chopping board getting deeper and deeper. Separated wooden parts most likely end up to our food. Plastic and metal counterparts also have this problem, but they are not as obvious as wood.
Well, wood is not completely out of our options. Premium wines are fermented in wood, the oak barrels. Cacao beans are fermented in wooden boxes. The first is intended for the flavor properties of oak while the second is for maintaining fermentation heat.
For other light applications, wood can still be of use. The wooden ladle and your favorite soup bowl. Coat it with polyurethane floor varnish and it is ready to go. The surface will become hard, glossy, scratch resistant and repels moisture and other debris.
Polyurethane fresh from the can has a very disagreeable smell. On the other hand it is odorless and perfectly food safe when applied on surface and dried.
Here is a quote from a can of polyurethane can.
Very flexible and highly resistant to abrasions and ordinary household chemicals like acid and alkaline solutions, food spills and beverages.
I have researched about this topic before. What can be applied to wood surface to make is more suitable for food use. All articles I found were pointing to the same thing, the polyurethane varnish.
It is a floor varnish but it is food safe. Its hardness and chemical resistance make it suitable as flooring coat and safe for food applications.
It can be applied to wooden plates, spoons, bowls. However, not for chopping board. It will not last against the repeated impact of sharp knives.
I will be using this one as coat finish on my Static Cooling Cabinet.
You can read my testing results here, “Food Safe Wood Surface With Polyurethane Varnish“.