Cutting boards and food safety

Avoid foodborne illness caused by cross-contamination by cleaning your cutting boards properly.

One of the most used items in a kitchen is cutting boards. When using cutting boards for various types of foods, the most important consideration is to avoid cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when ready-to-eat food is placed on a surface that held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or egg; spreading illness-causing bacteria to ready-to-eat foods.  

No matter what type of cutting board you choose; acrylic, glass, marble, plastic or solid wood, they all have the potential of hiding harmful germs. 

Here are some food safety tips when using cutting boards:

  • Choose a cutting board that has been approved for food contact and has a smooth, hard surface. 
  • Wash cutting boards after each use in hot, soapy water, rinse and allow to air dry or pat dry with clean cloth or paper towel. Follow cleaning instructions, some wooden and plastic boards are dishwasher safe. 
  • For additional safety, disinfect both wooden and plastic cutting boards with one tablespoon unscented chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Pour solution over the surface and let sit for a few minutes, then rinse well and air dry.
  • If possible, use different boards for meats, poultry and seafood than you use for vegetables, fruit, bread and other ready to eat foods.

Michigan State University Extension recommends replacing cutting boards when they have cracks, crevices, chips or grooves where bacteria can hide. No matter what material they are made from.  

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