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How clean is your cutting board?

A cutting board can be a trap for bacteria. How do you keep it clean?

 

First, which board do you choose? Plastic or wooden? Different studies have been conducted over the past 20 years, and the findings have been varied. Bottom line, experts agree, is that all cutting boards are vulnerable to contamination regardless of the material, and it's up to you to keep the board clean and in good condition. How's how:

  • Check if the board is dishwasher safe, and it if has any special cleaning requirements.

  • After each use, scrub your cutting board in hot, soapy water, then rinse and allow it to air dry or pat it dry with clean cloth or paper towel. Do not store until completely dry.

  • As an extra safety method, you can disinfect both wooden and plastic boards with a bleach solution (one tablespoon of unscented chlorine bleach per gallon of water). Pour the solution over the surface of the board and let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse and dry.

  • If your board has cracks, crevices, chips or grooves, it's time to get a new board. Those crevices and grooves are perfect places for bacteria to hide. Oiling a wooden board regularly helps prevent cracking.

  • Use two boards to avoid cross-contamination. Use one board for raw meat and seafood, and another for vegetables, fruits, and other ready-to-eat foods.

  • Some boards are now treated with triclosan, which is an anti-bacterial agent. While triclosan is effective in reducing microbes, it also has a questionable safety record. Best to stick with non-treated boards. 

Consider a bamboo board. Bamboo is a grass and is more porous then hardwood, thus less likely to trap bacteria. It is also environmentally-friendly and resists knife scratches.

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