Not toxic, and small quantities ingested probably won't cause any problems. Eat a big spoonful, and you're likely to have loose stools or diarrhea; stomach cramps; and/or vomiting.
As Jim says, not "food safe."
And *ten months* later I now have an update. Tried electrolysis de
rusting and gave up. No mater how long I left it running there was
always some red rust under the black. Also noticed that as the
outside edges got cleaner the middle and inside areas got slower and
slower. Sheller sat in the storage shed all winter.
Went with plan A and had it sandblasted. Got it back a few days ago
and the wife baked on the first layer of flax seed oil. Looks pretty
good. Not as black as an old frying pan liked I hoped. But restoring
this to use, not as an antique. Will try to put a few pictures up on
the web once it is put back together.
Thanks again to all here who offered advice!
A bit late for that. Got it put together yesterday and ordered a
replacement wood handle on Ebay. Had searched last year for a wood
handle with 5/16" bore with no luck. Considered ordering the little
clamp 'doo jobbers' that allow you to quickly mount and dis-mount
the sheller when using it. (Very common for these to be missing!)
Only ones in my price range were aluminum. The cast iron 'new from
original molds' were about what I paid for the whole sheller.