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Cutting board and cross-contamination - Is it a real issue?

So, i am in the process of getting a new cutting board.
I though about going with:


Now i am not sure if i need any extra plastic boards to avoid cross-contamination? Is this really an issue? If i need extra plastic, i might go with:


I would get blue and red color for meat and fish and use the wood for veggies. What do you think?

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  1. I use one cutting board for everything - sometimes I even rinse it. But then again, we're healthy from having been exposed to "germs" over the course of a lifetime. Moreover, I know that really fresh fish smells like fish - not the ocean, and that the release of air from the oven when I open it to baste a bird does not wreak havoc upon the cooking process. Kitschy TV aphorisms sometimes are just too simple for me, I guess.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MGZ

      Could not agree more. If I may make a mere assertion (rant), not properly tested, it would be that my single end grain cutting board that I use for everything not only has not given me any illness over the 18 years Ive had it, if anything has made me healthier.

      My work colleagues laugh right back at me with my derisive snorts as they decontaminate their work stations and compulsively wash their hands with anti-septic spray. And they all get sick with every bug that goes round the community and fill themselves with anti-biotics.

      I'm not advocating being stupid, like preparing a salad on your board right after youve chopped raw chicken but this germ paranoia is actually counter-productive.

      Flavour cross contamination is the only excuse for multiple boards and what's wrong with a wiping a board down?

      1. re: jhamiltonwa

        :: Flavour cross contamination is the only excuse for multiple boards ::

        Have to disagree here. Cooks have multiple boards for multiple reasons: being able to prep two things in quick succession without having to take time out to do a thorough cleaning, avoiding bacterial cross-contamination, avoiding flavor crossing, concentrating messy jobs on an easily washed board, and probably others.

        It's perfectly safe to use one board only, with attention to the order in which you prep things and to cleaning and drying. It's not necessarily the most convenient approach.

    2. <Now i am not sure if i need any extra plastic boards to avoid cross-contamination? Is this really an issue? If i need extra plastic>

      It is only a real issue if you cut food which you don't plan to cook (direct consumption) and if you don't wash your cutting boards in between. For example, it is a problem if you cut raw chicken, and then cut lettuce for salad. As such the lettuce will get contaminated by the germs from the raw chicken.

      It is not a problem if the lettuce is to be cooked.

      You can minimize this problem by multiple way.
      1) Get multiple cutting boards as you have said
      2) Wash the cutting board in between the raw chicken and the salad lettuce
      3) Switch the order: Cut the lettuce first, and then cut the raw chicken.

      If you are worry about bacteria from the raw chicken last night getting to the lettuce next morning, then you don't have to worry about that.

      If you are really concern, then there are many ways to disinfect a cutting board. Salt, bleach, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide...even microwave.

      36 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        " As such the lettuce will get contaminated by the germs from the raw chicken."

        If there ARE any germs.

        1. re: c oliver

          A staple of our science fairs is the percent of contamination on the surface of commercial raw chicken; Rates normally exceed 50%. Coupled with a report from a consumer magazine of up to 70% a few years ago, even I who live on a magic boat pay some attention to the order I cut things in.

          But I still only use a single, use to be, white cutting board I was given 30 years ago.

          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

            Thanks. That's a surprising number for me. I have many wood cutting boards and swap them out or turn them over when chopping various things. Mainly cause I don't want meat 'jus' in my salad toppings. And when I wash them it's just plain old soap and water.

            1. re: c oliver

              Raw chicken has salmonella germs even before it's dead. The germs just keep multiplying afterwards, they don't appear out of nowhere.

            2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

              Additionally coupled that the raw chicken based salmonella strain the CDC is currently investigating is resistant to antibiotics.

              1. re: C. Hamster

                and it's a pretty nasty strain -- significantly higher rates of hospitalization, along with resistance to antibiotics.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  The allowable incidence rate of salmonella on raw chicken in the US is 10%, not 50-70%. The reason the USDA considered shutting down the Foster Farms processing plants last week was that their observed incidence rate was almost 27%.

                  And given that the salmonella strains in the Foster Farms outbreak are antibiotic resistant (as C. Hamster pointed out), it's especially regrettable they didn't get shut down. As of Friday the CDC reported 317 salmonella cases, with over 40% requiring hospitalization.

                  1. re: calumin

                    I'm not a scaredy-cat when it comes to foodborne contamination, but this one makes me squirm. Nasty strain, high hospitalization, antibiotic resistant, and yet there's almost no reaction...why?!

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      The FSIS has put the plants under an enhanced inspection regimen and is requiring improvements in processing. What additional reaction do you think is needed?

                      1. re: GH1618

                        GH1618 -- anything doesn't impact revenue at the processing plant is something that the company will continue to just gloss over. the only reason foster farms reacted so strongly this time was that they were three days away from getting shut down.

                        This has been going on at this company for many months, but it has only hit the national media over the past couple weeks. Corrective action should have been enforced a while ago.

                        1. re: GH1618

                          to close the plants until they've eliminated the problem -- the same as happens with any other contamination problem.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            "Any other contamination" doesn't mean anything. Some contaminants are considered "adulterants" and their presence causes more stringent actions to be taken. Salmonella is not in that category. If the FSIS is on-site and has determined that the problem is under control, that's good enough.

                            Consumers should always treat chicken as if is contaminated with pathogens. That's why the FSIS has published a guide to the safe handling of chicken.

                            1. re: GH1618

                              No it's not good enough. The FSIS action (or lack thereof) is not based on their views of science. It's based on the fact that it's too much work for them to shut the plants down.

                              There have been illnesses reported since March. There was another salmonella outbreak last year at Foster Farms, and yet another one earlier this year, and the CDC thinks the illnesses are all linked.

                              This salmonella strain is resistant to antibiotic treatment, and over 42% of victims require hospitalization. There are now over 500 documented cases in the current outbreak across 20 states and Puerto Rico.

                              FSIS knows that this company doesn't operate at sufficient quality control levels but they get pressure from politicians and lobbyists to look the other way.

                              FSIS has not determined that the problem is under control. All they have done is react to a company statement which committed to finally making some process improvements they should have made a long time ago. These improvements have not been made yet.

                              And yet Foster Farms did not recall any meat, and the USDA did not force them to. However, stores like Costco have voluntarily taken the food off their shelves, due to risk of illness to consumers.

                              What is interesting is that there is at least one documented case of someone getting salmonella poisoning from a contaminated Foster Farms chicken that was thoroughly cooked on the rotisserie at Costco. There must have been some other food handling issue which led to some of the bacteria not getting killed.

                              1. re: calumin

                                Here's an article from Food Safety News which contains links to letters from the FSIS documenting what they have done in this case.


                                I don't see how it is too much work for the FSIS to shut down a plant. All they have to do is withdraw their inspectors. The plant operators are the ones who would have to do the work to shut it down and restart it.

                                1. re: GH1618

                                  I agree with the commenters in the link you posted. It's not a stretch to think the government shutdown has something to do with this.

                                  It's not just pulling out inspectors, it's dealing with the fallout from lobbyists, politicians and the media when revenues fall and when the public perceives that our supermarket chicken supply isn't safe.

                                  Isn't it odd that the FSIS didn't even push Foster Farms to do a recall?

                                  1. re: calumin

                                    No, it isn't. The law does not require a recall for salmonella, so the FSIS is sticking to what it can do, which is close a plant (or threaten to).

                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      The FSIS has latitude in what it chooses to do, based on the circumstances. The article which you linked pointed out that there are more illnesses from these two related Foster Farms salmonella outbreaks than the eight Cargill outbreaks cited going back over 10 years -- for which there were numerous recalls.

                                      FSIS has the ability to push for a recall -- esp. given its ability to shut down a plant. The issue is that FSIS has been especially lax on Foster Farms in all of its oversight the past few months.

                                      1. re: calumin

                                        Cargill initiated those recalls. The difference here is between Cargill and Foster Farms, not different treatment by the FSIS. But the Cargill recalls were for tainted ground beef. This is more serious than chicken parts, because ground beef is handled in a way that can spread the contamination more readily, and because some people like undercooked hamburgers.

                                        My reading is that the blame lies entirely on Foster Farms, not on the FSIS. I wonder if the bad press will cost them much business.

                                        1. re: GH1618

                                          My takeaway is that the government thinks that this antibiotic-resistant salmonella-infested chicken is safe to go through the consumer food supply. Even though the number of sick people is higher than all the other ground-beef-based outbreaks you mention.

                                          Maybe this is one more reason to stay away from mass-produced American chicken and source from local, more trustworthy farms. No guarantees, but it's easier to adopt better handling practices when the processing plant is run less like a machine.

                              2. re: GH1618

                                Here's a statement from the director of the California Dept. of Public Health on that point:


                        2. re: calumin

                          Just for fun, I have a print out from Tyson that I saved from about 10 years ago. In recent years, most raw meat from them seems to be shipped frozen then thawed for sale and you can see why. I remember the days of receiving 40 lb cases of it siting on dripping ice, yuck to everything in the warehouse surrounding it.

                          Bacteria levels on chickens:
                          Day 0, 360 bacteria (OK) before it is killed
                          Day 1, 5,800 bacteria (OK) killed, on the truck and arriving overnight at place of sale
                          Day 2, 92,000 bacteria (OK), arrives in your kitchen hopefully
                          Day 3 1,475,000 bacteria (OK); time to cook!
                          Day 4, 23,600,000 bacteria (off odors);
                          Day 5, 377,500,000 bacteria (slimy).

                          Also has these fun facts:
                          Bacteria doubles....
                          every 1/2 hour at 90 degrees (think, sitting on a loading dock)
                          every 1 hour at 70 degrees (sitting on your counter?)
                          every 2 hours at 60 degrees
                          every 3 hours at 50 degrees
                          every 6 hours at 40 degrees
                          every 12 hours at 36 degrees
                          every 20 hours at 32 degrees

                          Then they finish this up with this excellent statement MOVE CHICKEN FAST!

                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  As always, ck, you give great advice and information! Now can you tell me where I can buy a microwave my size cutting board will fit into, because that solution really works! '-)

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    <where I can buy a microwave my size cutting board will fit into, because that solution really works! '-)>

                    :D A great point. I suppose many cutting boards cannot fit in a microwave, I personally would rank it not as good as the other methods (vinegar, bleach, hydrogen peroxide....etc).

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Actually, unless your cutting board is laminated natural wood (in which case the steam generated by microwaves MIGHT melt the glue) it's arguably the best method on your list! '-)

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Microwave is good because it can kill the bacteria inside and out. The problem is that if you heat it up too short, then it does not do much. If you heat it up too long, then you can dry out the wood.

                        Otherwise, it is not a bad method.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          There are two things a wood cutting board doesn't like: 1) a long soak in liquid; 2) excessive heat. One potential problem I see with a microwave is the potential to overheat the board (the glue actually) and then have the thing come appart. Most wood cutting boards are held together with a type I glue (ANSI/HVPA). At one time I could tell you the max temperature the glue could take, but, I don't recall exactly what that is now. The potential problem is that you probably can't control the microwave to a specific wood temperature and an enthusiastic application of microwaves could get the board excessively hot.

                          1. re: mikie

                            < I see with a microwave is the potential to overheat the board (the glue actually) >

                            Even without the glue, it can be a problem for dried out the wood too much. However, it is not impossible. It just takes a bit more care to do it. I think.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              I suspect that the safest and most viable way to stabilize/protect a wood cutting board during "sterilization" via microwave would be to wrap the entire board in a damp cloth or paper towels The maximum amount of time required to kill all nasty bugs known to mankind in a home microwave is five minutes. Considering that it takes two minutes in my microwave to boil a single cup of water but takes 8 or 9 minutes to nuke a medium sized baking potato it's obvious that density of material and not volume dictates the cooking time, soooOOOooooooOOOoooo...

                              I suspect that if you wrap a wood cutting board in a damp cloth or paper towel so the cutting board is in full contact with the fabric on all surfaces, then nuke for five minutes, that is not sufficient time to melt the laminating glue in a wooden cutting board. The water in the cloth/paper towel will be producing steam all during the sterilization period, and that will control how much "super heat" can reach the glue(s?) in the interior of the cutting board, ANNNNDDD.... every wooden cutting board I've ever met is manufactured to hold up when a cook puts a big slab of steaming hot brisket on it to slice into serving size pieces... Or whatever boiling hot food that might be placed directly on the board...

                              Yup! I suspect that microwave sterilization is the best way to handle bugs like salmonella and all of the other bad bugs too! If my bamboo cutting board wasn't about the size of a baseball diamond I'd give this a try and report back to you!

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                spritzing with white vinegar or pouring boiling water over the board is a good alternative to sterilizing your board in the microwave.

                                As they say, "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"

                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                  In that case, do as I do and use a weak bleach solution!

                                  1. re: coll

                                    This is starting to read like methods of torturing cutting boards:

                                    Microwave it.
                                    Put acidic on it
                                    Splash boiling water on it
                                    Pour bleach on it.

                                    Have you people had no heart? How can you do this? Are we not all God's creatures?

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Well, some of Gods creatures are not welcome in my kitchen!

                                      1. re: coll

                                        <some of Gods creatures are not welcome in my kitchen!>

                                        Yes, but you don't have to tolerate them.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          They are not welcome, and I also don't tolerate them! Zap, you're gone.

                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    You are absolutely right CK. Most raw chicken is contaminated with salmonella. If you cut raw chicken on a wooden board and then immediately use the same board to cut ingredients for a salad which will be eaten raw, you're looking for trouble. Sure you will likely get away with it most of the time and certainly washing the board with soap and water between will minimize the risk, but why take any risk? Get a cheap plastic board and use it solely for poultry. Easy and safe!

                    1. re: josephnl

                      <Sure you will likely get away with it most of the time and certainly washing the board with soap and water between will minimize the risk, but why take any risk?>

                      A very good point. So I guess it is useful to either have two (or more) cutting boards or a two-sided cutting board which we can just flip it over to use the other side.

                      I guess the other possibility (not too hot) is to use a glass cutting board. While a glass cutting board dulls the knife very quickly, it is one of the easiest surface to clean. It is non-porous, unlike wood. It is very difficult to get scratched unlike plastic.

                  3. So what do you think about the boards i posted links to?
                    Also do i need this to take care of the board:

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: bwspot

                      <Also do i need this to take care of the board:>

                      You should get some mineral oil for your cutting board -- just to condition it, and just in case.

                      However, you don't need this particular one. You can just get any pharmacy mineral oil. CVS, Walgreens...etc.



                      1. re: bwspot

                        <So what do you think about the boards i posted links to?>

                        Between those two, the end grain one (first one) is a better. End grain has two benefits over edge grain. First, end grain is slightly gentler to knives. Second, end grain is less likely to warp. However, either one is good. I also suggest you to see if you can get a good deal from HomeGoods and TJMaxx. They often sell these cutting boards at half the price. Just be careful. Look closely to see if the boards have cracks. If not, then they are usually good buys.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          You can go to the bank on Chem.

                          Antimicrobial oils are natural in wood. If you have great concerns (cleaning game or fish) a quick wash with vinegar or nonsmelly bleach is plenty. Or leave it in the sun for a few hours. UV action works better if the ozone hole is in place.

                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                            Antimicrobial oils are natural in living trees. (They are part of the tree's immune system.) They do not persist in wood that has been cut, dried, treated, oiled, etc. So, they are not in cutting boards.

                            1. re: reptilegrrl

                              that's not what several scientific studies concluded.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                I would love to read said studies. Can you provide links?

                                1. re: reptilegrrl

                                  Here's a summary of some work done at UC Davis comparing wooden to plastic cutting boards. Not exactly what was mentioned, but related.


                                  1. re: reptilegrrl

                                    Here's another similar summary report. Follow the links at the bottom.


                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      thanks, GH -- I've been out of town and couldn't respond.

                          2. re: bwspot

                            I wouldn't want my cutting board oil to impart scents to the board. The oil I use is pure mineral oil with a trace of Vitamin E. I think some have a little beeswax in them. I clean my wooden board with white vinegar and (occasionally) with household hydrogen peroxide.

                          3. My lovely maple end grain butcher block board is just for produce. If I'm working with meat, a plastic dishwasher friendly board comes out of the cabinet.

                            My (awesome) SIL with celiac's has requested that I please use a dishwasher friendly board when cooking for her. As I lover her to bits and don't want to make her ill, no problem. I guess that tells me something.

                            1. One maple board that is used for everything. It's washed after use. No problems over many years cutting chicken and other proteins and washing then cutting vegetables even salad material. Wash with soap and hot water. That's it. There have been times I spritzed with white vinegar after raw chicken but most times just use soap

                              1. Cross-contamination is of greatest concern when handling raw poultry, because of the number and types of pathogens that can be found there. It is a good idea to become familiar with the recommendations of the Food Safety Information Service of the USDA on this subject.

                                My own practice is to use a large plastic board for cutting meats. When I put raw chicken on it, it goes directly into the dishwasher after use, to be washed on the "sanitizing" (extra-hot) wash and rinse cycles. I lay the board flat, work side down.

                                The notion that anyone is safe from the pathogens which can be found in raw chicken merely because they believe they are healthy from a lifetime of exposure to "germs" is a dangerous delusion.

                                Food poisoning isn't common because we have government agencies enforcing food safety, because food producers have an interest in supplying safe food as well, and because most of us use good food handling practices. Nevertheless, it isn't exactly rare. The consequences are usually merely severe discomfort for a few days (I was sick for a week not long ago from some bad oysters), but occasionally there are deaths.

                                Regarding chicken in particular, one of the pathogens it can contain is Campylobacter jejeuni, a common cause of food poisoning. Most people who are infected with it will merely get ordinary gastric distress, but a few will develop Guillain-Barré Syndrome. This is a devastating disorder which can put a person in the hospital for a year and result in permanent disability. There is no way to know who is susceptible to acquiring GBS from C. jejeuni infection. Susceptibility does not correlate to perceived "healthiness." This is a rare disorder (incidence of about 1 per 100,000), but its effects are so extreme that it is prudent to take the recommended precautions for safe handling of chicken seriously.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: GH1618

                                  That should be "Food Safety and Inspection Service."

                                2. I wouldn't want that heavy end-grain block unless I really needed to use it as a chopping block. For a cutting board, the other one is fine, provided it is well-made. (I don't have it so can't vouch for it.)

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: GH1618

                                    GH1618 makes a good point about the heft. If you're set on using one board, accept that unless you are extremely meticulous about the order in which you prep your ingredients, you will need to wash it during prep. Are you really willing to lug that thing into the sink and wash it in the middle of prep? The boards you linked to weigh 27 pounds and 15 pounds respectively. (I'm not sure I would be willing to wash a 27 pound board every time I wanted to make chicken!) Also, I noticed they don't have feet which means that your board will be sitting in some moisture if you do wash it during prep. Not good for a wood board. My big, heavy board rarely sees the sink. I use it for everything except raw proteins, onions and garlic (wood boards can absorb odors.) I usually just wipe it down with a damp cloth when I'm done. I own a much smaller, more manageable board for raw proteins, onions and garlic. That board gets washed all the time and, therefore, needs mineral oil much more often.

                                    1. re: sherrib

                                      I don't think I'd be willing to lug a 27-pound board ever. For any reason.

                                      At my house,chicken gets cut on the white plastic boards that go into the dishwasher.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        Same here! I don't want anything as heavy as that, period. And my dishwasher has a "sanitize" cycle, so all the cutting boards are plastic and go in there.

                                  2. If you live on the west coast of the U.S. and buy Foster Farms chicken, whether whole or pre-cut, cross contamination is a VERY real threat!

                                    See; http://tinyurl.com/n48gv8u

                                    1. I don't doubt that cross-contamination is a real hazard in the kitchen, and I don't take chances.

                                      1. Effective disinfection in a home microwave is not a given. Here is a discussion of the subject from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):


                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: GH1618

                                          Agree. However, CDC and FDA write very strict guidelines. Very conservative. Some of which are very high level such as sterilization of medical devices which are way above kitchen applications -- like <Microwaves used for sterilization of medical devices have not been FDA cleared.>

                                          I completely agree with these statements. That being said, most other methods won't clear the FDA or CDC requirement anyway. Such as using table salt or diluted vinegar as disinfectants. We certainly cannot just spray some white vinegar on medical devices and call it the day, but that is what I do with my cutting boards. I use a spray bottle to spray white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide on the boards. More than often, I don't do anything beside just soap and water.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            What spray bottle do you use/which brand and where purchased? I couldn't find any food-safe, even from the restaurant supply stores -- they told me they were meant for cleaning and actually weren't food safe (at least the nozzle part).


                                            1. re: iyc_nyc

                                              ??? I honestly think it is fine to use any spray bottle.

                                              As for me, I just so happen to have bought this one, and will be filling normal hydrogen peroxide after it is empty.


                                              If you are really concern about the food safe part, then I guess you can always use one of these oil mister or oil spray bottles which are sold as oil spray for food.


                                              But I really think most of these nozzles are about the same.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                Yup, I use a misto spray bottle for the vinegar solution I use on my board.


                                                1. re: iyc_nyc

                                                  What would be unsafe? You're spraying vinegar on wood and washing it off

                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                    I got a tad more cautious after I saw my plastic/rubber caps deterioriate when used with bottles storing vinegars and oils, and worried about the chemicals leeching..When the restaurant supply stores indicated their spray bottles were not food-safe, I just took their word for it.. But I may be being overly cautious.

                                                    1. re: iyc_nyc

                                                      "not food safe" usually refers to whether or not you can use the container to hold food. i.e., using a spray bottle for egg wash.

                                              2. re: GH1618

                                                There is nothing in that article that would indicate microwave is an unsafe technology for sterilizing a cutting board, BUT...! The article does assume one is smart enough to figure out what will work for the individual seeking information about using microwaveS to sterilize a cutting board effectively. A cutting board suitable for sterilization in a microwave should be made of a material that will not be compromised by 4 to 5 minutes of exposure in a "home" microwave oven.

                                                From the article " The microwaves produced by a "home-type" microwave oven (2.45 GHz) completely inactivate bacterial cultures, mycobacteria, viruses, and G. stearothermophilus spores within 60 seconds to 5 minutes depending on the challenge organism933, 935-937."

                                                The most important information the article shares is that the bandwidth of microwaves used in a home microwave oven may or may not be what will work best for sterilization temperatures BECAUSE how much power (bandwidth of microwaves produced by any given microwave oven's magnetron) may or may not be appropriate.

                                                An interesting little aside for you that illustrates that point through my personal experience:

                                                My second husband was a microwave guru (among other things, he worked on the R&D of the radar for the Patriot Missile System, at White Sand's Missile Range, before the system was delivered to the DOD, etc, etc. etc). After we were married, I bought my first Amana Radar Range. That was approximately1974? or 75?. I loved the big chrome counter space hoarding hunk of junk EXCEPT for the fact that it would NOT cook carrots! To cook carrots in that model microwave there was absolutely NO time savings involved because all the microwave could do for cooking carrots was boil them...! The FULL length of time they would take stove top! So I asked my husband what the heck was going on, and he did a little checking on the bandwidth of the magnetron in MY Radar Range. He told me the bandwidth wasn't wide enough to cook carrots... And I 100% believe him BECAUSE every microwave I've ever owned since that one has done a much better job of cooking carrots...

                                                STUPID PEOPLE TRICKS: While he was working on the new radar system for the Patriot sYSTEM at White Sands, he an the other electronics engineers would often take raw hot dogs to work with them for lunch, then have a gleeful fun time cooking their hotdogs at the end of a VERY long stick by holding it up in front of the radar antenna while it was producing microwave search signals. I used to really worry, because there is no one sloppier about dangerous work than the guys who are overly familiar with it and should know better! You've heard of people killing their pets by trying to dry them in a microwave? Then you know why I worried about my husband! '-)

                                              3. I take a small cookie sheet then a small plastic cutting board for all my meats incuding chicken [cutting boards I got at Costco] they came in pack of 3 small med and large, like you I used to spend a fortune at the restaurant supply place these are half the price and I love them. With the cookie sheet It's fast clean up and no contamination.

                                                1. I have two cutting boards that I use in kitchen prep. A big thick bamboo one then one of those thin plastic sheets (mine has non slip rubber grips on one side). Any raw meat, I chop on the plastic sheet. Everything else direct on the board. I wash in simple dish washing liquid and rinse in hot water. I've never had a problem with contamination. I think if I had a baby or immune comprised person in the house I'd be more cautious but this is all the precaution I've ever needed for myself.

                                                  1. The board you'll use most, for vegetables, fruit, bread, herbs, etc., should be one whose surface you can easily clean after a session of chopping and slicing, and fairly kind to your knife. Edge-grain wood boards are probably the best choice for the combination of price, weight, knife-friendliness, and washability. I use a bamboo board that makes up for any extra wear & tear on my knife with its light weight and ease of cleaning.

                                                    The simplest way to avoid cross-contamination is to have another, dishwasher-safe cutting board for working with raw meat, poultry, and fish, and run it through the dishwasher when you're done. [Or, without DW, scrub well with soap and hot water, rinse with very hot water, and let air dry.] The white nylon/acrylic boards sold in most supermarkets are soft enough not to harm sharp knives, inexpensive, and durable.

                                                    For convenience, I also have handy a mini version of my meat board, a small acrylic board that I use when what I'm cutting is likely to stain or stink up the regular cutting board (roasted red peppers, beets, anchovies, chiles in adobo, oil-marinated items). It's even easier to wash than the main board; baking soda with the soap scrub helps minimize staining.

                                                    1. I mostly use a single plastic board, cutting produce before proteins, But I also use the styrofoam trays on which supermarkets pack meat, poultry, seafood, and produce. If I
                                                      have a package of chicken legs to cut up, I throw away the bloody diaper they sit on, then use the tray as my cutting board. I wash the trays I haven't used and save them for one further use. Once they have cut marks I toss them. I also use pristine ones as trays and plates for picnics or taking foods to gatherings. Styrofoam isn't recycled here so I like to get at least one further use from it.

                                                      However, if you are scared by reports of contamination risks and statistics, you won't be comfortable unless you segregate your foods with different boards.

                                                      1. Cross-contamination of boards is a huge problem in the commercial world of cooking which is why the UK government in the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 said that different surfaces must be used for raw/cooked meat/fish etc. There is a standard colour coding system which many restaurants and caterers use and you might like to consider joining them or if it's just cooking at home you can use a system which makes sense to you.
                                                        Blue - raw fish
                                                        Red - raw meat
                                                        Green - salad and fruit
                                                        Yellow - cooked meat
                                                        Brown - vegetable
                                                        White - dairy
                                                        Also, we offer a black chopping board which is popular as a miscellaneous board, for wet dairy, or cooked fish.
                                                        The important thing to remember is that boards don't last forever and need to be changed regularly.
                                                        Hope we've been able to help a little!

                                                        13 Replies
                                                        1. re: Choppingboardsdotcom

                                                          Way too complicated for me though I'm sure cutting board makers would love to see each of us own 7+ boards per. As others in this older thread have stated, I use a plastic board for raw meat and one of a couple wooden boards for everything else. The plastic board goes in the DW after use, the wooden boards are rinsed and hand dried.

                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                              Seven boards that you must replace regularly! Mine are all from the 1970s and 1980s, and I don't plan to replace them anytime soon. Maybe they made them better then?

                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                Oh no, no wouldn't expect any domestic kitchen to own more than 2 boards. But that system is the standard 7 board system used in restaurants where there could be a real risk of cross-contamination.
                                                                The most important thing is to not cut cooked food on a board which has had raw meat or fish or it, and if you need to then you should use separate boards.
                                                                We have found that many people use red and white because of the standard system, but also many people use their own colour coding.

                                                                1. re: Choppingboardsdotcom

                                                                  or turn the board over and use the other, clean side

                                                                  1. re: Mr. Bingley

                                                                    Not a good idea. This will contaminate the countertop or whatever surface is underneath. Best practice is to put a board used to cut meat, especially chicken, directly into the dishwasher after use.

                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                      Wash will with soap and a squirt of a weak bleach based solution and in short order you're back in business

                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                        Back in business but not necessarily sanitized. I wouldn't want to be squirting bleach around anyway. It will ruin clothing colors.

                                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                                          Not sterile but it will be sanitized or disinfected

                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                            That's what aprons are for ;-)

                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                              I don't put my bamboo cutting boards in the dishwasher. They get a good scrub with a scrub brush, dish soap, and rinsed with water, dried, and ready to use again.

                                                                              Have been doing that for 40+ years. Haven't died yet.

                                                                              Oh - and the color-coded cutting boards are completely nuts.

                                                                          2. re: GH1618

                                                                            Meh. I spread a few paper towels on the counter, flip the board over and it works ok. Then after the board goes in the dishwasher I clean the counter.

                                                                    2. I have quite a few of the softer plastic cutting boards. However, I have so many because each one is a different size and used for different cutting jobs.

                                                                      After using one for cutting meat, simply wash with hot soap and water and pour a bleach mixture over for extra measure & rinse. I had to take one of those food safety courses as part of my job and was astonished to find that a mere teaspoon of bleach in a quart of water was considered sufficient to disinfect a surface. I always keep a bottle of the bleach mixture in my kitchen, and when I work with raw chicken, every surface that I've touched is washed and disinfected with bleach. That means the counter, sink, faucet handles, etc.

                                                                      There's no reason to have dozens of different boards for each food if you simply wash and disinfect. However, I also find it more convenient to use the dishwasher, as the hot water temperatures will kill just about anything.

                                                                      Because of the porous surfaces of wooden cutting boards and the tendency of their surfaces to get soft or "slushy" to the point that my knife slips, I prefer plastic.

                                                                      1. The two most dirty pieces of equipment people use are money and telephones.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: cronker

                                                                          and keyboards. And mobile phones (there was a recent study that mentioned how much fecal coliform is on the screen of an average smartphone...totally disgusting.

                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                            Now I understand why the guy at Verizon suggested using Charmin to wipe my iPhone down. So much for the "He must own stock" theory.

                                                                        2. I laughed at cross contamination until 12 of us in the office got
                                                                          sick because a co-worker brought in baked chicken that we discovered she used a cutting board that she had beef on before the chicken.....the illness we had was collectively dysentery

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: LEOFONT

                                                                            I will say that cross contamination is only *real* when we put a *final* food on top of uncooked reside. In your case, placing a baked chicken where the raw beef was.

                                                                            It is not a problem if you put item A (to be cooked later) on top of item B.

                                                                            It is not a problem if both item A and B have already been cooked

                                                                            It is not a problem if you wash the cutting board and the knife (not just the cutting board) in between the two preparation.

                                                                            In short, I think cross contamination is real threat, but not to the point which we need multiple cutting boards for vegetables, fish, pork and beef.

                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                              just a half a brain...which for some people is just. too. much.:)

                                                                              I do understand it for commercial kitchens, though, as too many people are doing too many things at the same time to keep track of what was cut on which board.