Is 3D Printed PLA food safe?

Often one of the first printed projects people create on their freshly built or purchased 3D printer is some sort of cup or shot glass. But as this thingiverse blog points out:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Would PLA be adequate for 3D printing moulds which can be filled with chocolate?

as a guy that prints, im going to say do not use PLA for food.
most pla has more additives then just colors.

I agree on the gaps and nooks and cranny. But I read a bit on cyano acrylate. You might be able to ‘cure’ the inside of the vessel with CA (as long as it IS CA). That would make it both stronger, and remove the laminations. I think I’m equally interested in how soft the plastic might get when combined with hot foods.

I think the printed material could be covered with materials such as epoxy or silicone to achieve a closed-cell state. If done correctly, I could see bowls and mugs having a decent shelf life. I’d still stick with nylon though if you ever wanted to drink something hot. I’ll keep the stainless steel hot end in mind, but even if the material contains lead, the ensuing layer of epoxy/silicone would fix the problem.

Ok, so it’s probably a bad idea to eat out of it. But I should be safe printing off a small plastic component to replace a broken one in the microwave and it won’t melt or otherwise cause problems right?

I need to do more digging, but from a quick glance, PLA is NOT microwave safe. I.e. It can soften or melt in your microwave.

Thanks for your recommendation. So far I’ve found some conflicting information. Most sites talk about food safety in the microwave. They say that PLA is food safe, but whatever debris comes off your hot end is not. Another site said there was minimal heating after one minute, but it gave off a weird smell. I’m trying to replace the piece that sounds the tray in the microwave. I just don’t want to break the microwave in the process.

its probably ok once or twice but dont keep it around. dont put anything hot in it.

It release nasty things as it breaks down

the Diamond Age Solutions hyperlink is not active anymore, the most recent kind a working archive that I found is from 2014

however probably this early 2013 one is the original linked item » 3mm PLA Diamond Diamond Age Solutions Ltd.

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Thanks for the heads up. I removed the old link, it’s way out of date.

Hello, can we use PLA to 3D print print Drug tablets?

Nah. I wouldn’t eat PLA.

I garden and those cups you start seeds in are a pain. The biodegradable ones get slimy and the plastic ones are trays that are always either too rigid or so soft that they crack when trying to get the plant out. We 3D printed some plant start cups with our printers (we now have 2), using PLA. How degradable are these? If I can just plant them, great, If I have to break the plant out-no worries- it’s cheaper than buying trays.

Be interested to hear how long it takes for the PLA to break down, I’m guessing it’ll take a long while. I usually just cut up an egg carton for my seedlings.