I don't know why they wouldn't be safe - particularly if you seasoned it. Bucket Outlet says it has a "heavy, oxide coating." The question is what does that mean. I can't think of what it might be that would be toxic. All I can tell is that it is not dark and apparently not very thick as Gene couldn't discern it. It might be zinc oxide. If so, the FDR classifies that as safe. If ti was galvanized, Gene would have noticed. My guess is that the coating is hematite - another form of iron oxide that is part of mill scale and can be silvery-grey in color. If someone is really worried about it, they should call and ask what is on the pans.
I don't know why real black steel pans would be a problem either. Hot black steel is simply steel with the surface converted to magnetite (iron oxide) which is non-toxic. Perhaps because fake (cold) black oxide has selenium which can be toxic and comes off easily?
As Bob commented, I think it would be incredibly stupid for Bucket outlet to say the pans are food safe even if they are safe. They said exactly what I would expect them to say when asked.
The pan I got from Bucket Outlet has the Dover label on the bottom, so that's where they come from, but they're not the same. The old ones were blue steel, the new ones are cold-rolled (gray) steel. I spoke with people there before ordering, but it also could have been something I read, but I did read/hear somewhere that the new, cold-rolled steel pans are causing a problem because of a tendency to rust. But the source, of course, was talking about the pans used as intended and not seasoned as we do for baking. Also, as you can see on the Web site (http://www.bucket-outlet.com/Cold-Rolled-Steel-Utility-Dripping-Pans.htm
), they are marketed as "Cold Rolled Steel Utility Dripping Pans," and in the description, it says: "May rust with exposure to elements." If the "drips" the pans are trying to catch are water or water-based, I can see how rust could be a problem.
But note also: The prices are half as much as Shawn's pans.
In any case, I read/heard that because of the rust issue, Bucket Outlet is seeking a source of blue steel pans, or Dover is seeking a source of blue steel. I didn't ask anyone, but my guess is that when Dover moved away from their old location, they also moved away from their source of blue steel and haven't been able to find a source in Mexico.
I guess I should also mention, for anyone who might not be aware, that the blue steel is the same as the cold-rolled steel; the "blue" part is not the steel itself, but a coating applied to it to prevent or at least retard, rust.