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What kind of cutting boards do you use for meat? For vegetables?

We have those white plasticky ones and they are well worn and in need of replacement. I've been using the same cutting boards for everything - raw meat, veggies, fruit, etc. - thinking that it didn't matter since I put them in the dishwasher and it sanitizes them. I read recently that sometimes germs can survive in the grooves/cut marks so I want to get separate boards for meat and vegetables. We have a small kitchen so as much as I'd love a giant butcher block I don't think we have the space for it.

Do you use the same kind of boards for meat and veggies or different? What kind of board do you prefer? Any recommendations?

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  1. got a four pack of color dishwasher safe polyethelyne. (yellow-raw chicken, red- raw meats, green- vegetables and blue for stinky items, garlic, onions, seafood). from Libertyware LLC. they ran 15-20+usd apiece. color code can prevent cross contamination, for harried cooks like me.
    severely abused, never failed.
    make sure the size will fit in your dishwasher.
    bought some for a friend from WEBstaraunt store and think they shipped for free.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hyde

      I have the same thing. Colored coded boards. I also have two extra veg. boards. They ate the same. One is smal plastic with rubber grips, for small jobs like garlic, a piece of fruit or citrus wedges for drinks. The other is large white hard plastic.

      1. re: hyde

        I have the same boards, hyde, in the same colors. The size I have are 18"x 12"x1/2" and cost 6.89/ea.

        I keep a wooden cutting board to the left of my sink and simply put the pad I need on top.

      2. I use the same cutting board for meat and vegetables. You can cut the vegetables first, and then the meat for your meal; or you can cut the meat first, then clean, then move on to vegetables. In addition, if you are going to cook your vegetables, then it is not a huge problem. The biggest concern is: cut the meat, then cut the vegetables for salad. Now, your uncooked salad has been tainted with the raw meat.

        I use a wood cutting board. Have you consider a rubber cutting board? They are dense, they are easy to clean, and they can be sanded. So, after a year or two of heavy uses, you can sand the board to remove the cut marks.


        I am not saying it is the best. I have one, and I do not use it much now, but everyone has different expectation and requirement, so it may work very well for you

        3 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          How is or was the catchyness of the rubber board? I was interested in rubber boards myself, but hearing about the catchyness plus the price being 'bout the same as a good end grain wood board kinda put me off.

          1. re: shezmu

            The "catchiness" of a rubber cutting board is very strong -- strongest of all cutting boards I have tried. So I say this can be a weak point. Most of the thicker rubber cutting board can be $60-100 -- the same as an end grain cutting board. However, I have seen (and purchase) a thin rubber cutting board for $27.


            Unlike a wood cutting board, a thin rubber cutting board does not wrap, so I don't think it is a bad idea to get a thin one for home use. It has a lot of good points, and some not so good points. This is the same for any cutting boards. We just have to pick what suits our needs.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Well thanks for telling me that. Doesn't sound like something I'd get but that's just me.

        2. I use a poly board for raw meat. I use a wood board for pretty much everything else. I have a special (cheap) wood board with gutters for carving meat. I also have a larger wood board for pastry.

          1. I like the color-coded idea, but I just use one white polyethelene board for all meats and never anything else. It goes straight to the dishwasher after use. I also use a poly board for vegetables, but only because I don't have a wooden board and haven't found one I want. The poly boards are differentiated by size.

            1. I use heavy white neoprene boards. They clean beautifully when scrubbed by hand or in the dishwasher. I've use the same boards for many years and I don't discriminate between meat and veg boards, I can't think of any reason to unless you buy into scare tactics to sell more boards. Epicureans are great boards too and very kind to your knives. No matter how they are labeled never cut on glass. Glass boards are counter savers and a good place to put something hot on but never ever cut on it.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Candy

                I wouldn't call a concern for contamination from bacteria sometimes found in raw chicken to be a "scare tactic." Chicken can contain campylobacter jejuni, which is not only a common cause of food poisoning, but which is also associated with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. This is not something you want to get. Look it up.

                Also salmonella, a dangerous pathogen which can also trigger autoimmune disorders.


                1. re: GH1618

                  i honestly do not see the big deal having four cutting boards but whatever. i am a respiratory therapist and have actually seen horrifying results from contaminated food, possibly it has made me overly cautious, so be it.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    I don't use dirty boards. All of my boards are well washed. As a Home Economist I have been educated in microbiology and foods microbiology among other related sciences.

                    1. re: GH1618

                      I don't think contaminated foods is the scare tactic. I think the idea that you have to have multiple boards or you're going to contaminate your food is.

                      1. re: shezmu

                        But the person who brought up "scare tactics" already has multiple boards!

                        Using a separate board for chicken is simpler than interrupting your prep to wash the board so you can reuse it, and it lessens the possibility of contamination.

                        1. re: GH1618

                          If you order your prep right, you can do all of the prep on one board without cleaning in between without any chance of contamination, unless chicken germs are capable of teleportation. Also, as far as safety is concerned, you might as well use one board if you want to cut back on how much you need to clean since the knifes and whatever else you use could get contaminated anyway. Using one board for prep is also simpler IMO.

                          1. re: shezmu

                            It's just a matter of personal style, ultimately. Knives don't figure into the calculation, because my sharpest knives get hand washed and put away immediately after use. The two knives I use for meat never are used for vegetables. This would be the case whether I used one board or two.

                            It's not a matter of how much cleaning is required, but when it is required, and of following a protocol which eliminates the possibility of contamination, especially with raw chicken. The protocol is: process the chicken; wash and stow the knife; rinse the board and put it in the dishwasher; wash up; continue with everything else. The meat needs to be processed first if it is marinated.

                            Safety protocols are not designed to maximize efficiency, and they are not intended for the few among us who are so disciplined that they never make a mistake or take a shortcut, but for ordinary mortals. Redundancy is an important aspect of safety protocols, so counter-arguments based on efficiency are not relevant.

                            1. re: GH1618

                              Well definitely do whatever works for you. I don't see how ordering your prep is so difficult, but okay.

                  2. While it's nice to have color coded boards for chicken, meat, veggies, and fish, the minimum would be 1 for proteins, and 1 for veggies. Helps to have handy a spray bottle with bleach solution (1t. bleach to 1 qt. water), and a soak (1T. bleach to a gallon of hot water) after prepping poultry.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: letsindulge

                      The colored boards were a gift. I sometimes use the fish, meat, chicken interchangeably. Some I basically have 3 veg and 3 protein.

                    2. I use wooden cutting boards for everything and do not have one segregated for meat or vegs. Wash them well with soap and hot water and wipe them dry with a paper towel. As far as I know, never had a problem.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: escondido123

                        There is no question that it is the cleaning that matters, not the separate use. But if you don't have more than one board, then you need to interrupt your cooking to clean it. If you have more than one, it is easy enough to use them for distinct purposes.

                        1. re: GH1618

                          Depends upon what I am making. If all my ingredients are going to be cooked and end up together, I see no reason to worry about whether I cut the beef or the onion first if I'm making a braised beef with onion. If I'm making a chicken salad, I would chop my vegetables first and then finish with the raw chicken, only washing the board at the end. No interruption in either case.

                          1. re: GH1618

                            I think that this really is the key issue. The "scare tactic" as I see it is the proclaimed need to have separate boards for meat and veggies/fruits. Some even go so far as to say that you need one for fish, one for poultry, and one for all other meats, making you need 4 boards (3 meat, and 1 vegetarian).

                            For over a decade, I used a single cheapo, wood board for everything. I just never cut anything I would eat raw after cutting anything I was going to cook. And I always washed the board after my prep was finished with soap and water. No problems whatsoever.

                            Recently, for sake of my knives' edges and for aesthetics, I upgraded to an 18"x18"x"4" end grain maple block. It weighs 36 pounds, and I love it, but there is no way a board rotation is going to happen! So, I keep the moisture barrier intact by oiling and beeswaxing regularly, and order my prep so that all food to be cooked gets cut after any food to be eaten raw, and all is good. Afterward, I scrub with mild detergent and dry the board. Finally, if I cut a fair amount of poultry on the board, or if I let poultry sit on the board for more than a couple of minutes, I uses a vinegar solution as part of my cleaning.

                            We do need to be cautious about contamination, but cutting board rotation is not the only way to handle the issue. One can safely use a single board for all tasks if some thought is given and care taken in prep.

                            1. re: jljohn

                              I worked in a Kitchen store and I certainly could see how "fear of contamination" could lead folks to buy all sorts of products. This was a subject customers brought up since it was not a major concern to me.

                        2. Well we have dedicated ones for meat that are plastic but that is because we feed our dogs raw and so my husband is cutting meat 2x a day. I bought some bamboo ones to use exclusively for veggies but I'm not sure that I really like them.

                          1. I use wood for vegetables and rubber (like Sani-Tuff) for meat and chicken. If you don't have enough space for two boards, you could always get a wood board and simply put one of those thin plastic cutting sheets on top of it when cutting meat.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: tanuki soup

                              At home we use the thin platic mats over a wood board. One can use different colors for veggies, raw meat, and cooked meat.. At work most kitchens use plastic colored coded boards.

                            2. I currently use a soft plastic board that's been in the family for forever for everything. I barely even try to clean it by hand. I just throw it in the dishwasher after use. I haven't had a problem here (yet) and don't see myself ever having one. I want to get a good end grain wood board for myself though.

                              1. I use a wood board and use for everything

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                  Poyl for raw proteins,end grain maple for everything else.
                                  The wooden board weighs 22lbs and is too big to fit in my sink so.....

                                2. I use a Carlisle Sparta Spectrum HDPE board for poultry. Everything else goes on wood. I use 50/50 vinegar water on both and detergent also on the poultry board.

                                  I like the freedom that multiple boards afford. If at the last minute I decide I need to do something, I don't have to wash a board first.

                                  1. All this talk about cutting boards got me thinking about upgrading my cutting boards. I've always liked hardwood cutting boards, but I didn't want a small one, as a cutting board should be heavy enough to stay in place by its own weight, but large ones seemed too expensive. That, and the fact that I've been doing a lot more cooking in the past year than I had been.

                                    So I came across a bargain on Overstock,com — a Catskill Craftsman hardwood board 23" by 17" by 1 1/4" for only $45. The time and price seemed right and the size is nearly perfect. It almost completely fills a counter space (2" wider would be perfect), so it's like having a butcher block counter. Now that's my vegetable board, and my largest polyethylene board remains my meat cutting board.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      If you buy a small roll of shelf liner (the kind that looks kind of meshy and is used to line cabinets, you can cut a piece which will fit under your board, or, for that matter, any board, regardless of the weight. Nothing slips around on that stuff, and, if it gets dirty, just pop it in the dishwasher. Cheap solution to the sliding board problem.

                                    2. I do use my wood boards interchangeably for meats and veggies. Depending on the meal, I might cut up the veggies before the meat. Or if the meat needs to be cut before the veggies, I cut up the meat and then wash and dry the board before using for veggies. Or might just use another wood board if I don't have time to dry the one that I just cut the meat up on.

                                      Now with my new Boardsmith end grain board, I can cut up my meat, clean the board real good and if I don't have time for it to dry to my liking, I can flip the board over and use the other side. I got the board without the feet so I can use both sides. I set it on cork coasters to get it up off the table. After cutting up the veggies, I can clean that side then set it on end to make sure both sides get good and dry before putting it back down on my cork coasters.
                                      Yes, I can use one of my cheap wood boards instead of flipping my end grain board, but I enjoy using my Boardsmith board so much, that I don't really want to use my other ones ifI don't have to.

                                      Anyway that is how I do it. I think it is perfectly fine to use a board for both meat and veggies IF the board has been cleaned well after cutting up the meat. I have done this for years and never once had a problem. Heck, I have even made meatloaf in my large wooden bowl and used the same bowl for salad or popcorn. Of course that was after it was washed and dried. It just does not seem to me that the wood harbors bacteria as long as it is washed right after every use.

                                      I like the idea someone said on here about washing the wood cutting boards and laying in the sun to dry. I may give that a try. Then maybe not My luck a bird will poop on it. :o/

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: dixiegal

                                        I do the same. Just wash in between. More than 98% of the time I'm cooking for me and my wife. No gastrointestinal distress or other malaise from this practice in ether one of us in near 30 yrs of cooking together. I own some of those thin plastic sheets and find cutting on them unpleasant and washing even more a pain that the wood board. I worry more about the germs in the grooves of the plastic more than the wood.