02/09/18: Cutting board food safety: plastic or wood?

Various-Custom-Personalized-Cutting-BoardIt’s important to remember your cutting board when you are thinking about cross-contamination and food safety. Often, cutting boards can be a place for bacteria to thrive if they are not cleaned correctly or used properly. Plastic cutting boards were thought to be safer when it comes to cross-contamination risk as compared to wood boards. However, this isn’t necessarily true. You can choose whatever material you prefer: plastic, wood, marble, glass, or acrylic. It’s up to you. What really matters is how you clean your boards and how they are used.

The most important cutting board recommendation is to always have two boards and to always know which board is which. Use one board for raw meats and one board for ready-to-eat foods like fruits and vegetables. Consider having different coloured cutting boards to make it easier to remember. In addition, pay attention to the crevices and cracks in your boards as this is where bacteria tend to thrive. If your cutting board is starting to show large and deep crevices and many cracks, throw it out and get a new one. It’s important to note that plastic boards and softwood cutting boards, like cypress wood, may pose a greater food safety risk as they may be more likely to get more grooves and cracks. Hardwood cutting boards, like maple wood, are not as easy to produce knife scars. However, the material of the board does not matter as much if you clean your board properly.

To appropriately clean cutting boards, wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water and then rinse with the hot water. Allow the boards to air dry or pat dry with clean paper towels. Solid wood, plastic, glass, and acrylic cutting boards are usually dishwasher safe. Lastly to disinfect, use one tablespoon of chlorine bleach or other disinfecting solution to one gallon of water and pour over the surface of the clean cutting board. Allow to stand for a few minutes and then rinse with water. Disinfecting the cutting board after cleaning is especially beneficial for boards that have been used with raw meat.

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