Use of Essential Oils

Statement on the use of Essential Oils in cooking at the Suppers Programs Meetings & Events

As the Medical Adviser for the Suppers Programs I have been asked to provide an assessment and position statement on the addition of essential oils to the food that is prepared and consumed at Suppers Programs meetings and events.


Essential oils are the volatile oils of plants that are obtained through a process called distillation. Essential oils are highly concentrated as it takes a large amount of raw plant material to obtain a single drop of essential oil.

Any pure (non-synthetic) essential oil is essentially “food-grade”. Although food-grade essential oils have been considered as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the FDA, many in the field of herbalism caution regarding their internal use as they are incredibly concentrated and potentially toxic.

Even though oils may be labelled as “food-grade” these oils are very concentrated and potentially toxic substances when taken internally.


After conducting an extensive review of the literature and consultation with David Winston, Registered Herbalist. I recommend that Suppers refrains from the use of any essential oil for internal consumption - including food-grade essential oils. I advocate for the use of whole foods including the use of culinary herbs to be used as flavorings. Using essential oils for cooking moves us away from using food as medicine and entering the world of medicine as food.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter,

Adi Benito (MD) Board Certified in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism
Chief Medical Adviser Board of Trustees, The Suppers Programs

For further questions please contact Marion Reinson, Executive Director.