Best Cutting Board?
30 July 04

I have been using plastic cutting boards, but a friend told me that wooden cutting boards are safer because they are free of bacteria. I think this is another matter. What is the truth?


For some time, cutting board security has been a topic of debate. The main question is which material is best - wood, plastic or recent bamboo. The safety issue focuses on whether the cardboard can be effectively cleaned after use to ensure that the food placed on it will have virtually no bacterial contamination. Another consideration is which surface will make the blades you use more dull.

Research at the University of California, Davis (UCD) in the investigators was informed that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has no scientific evidence to support its recommendation that these issues be studied after using plastic instead of wood cutting boards in home kitchens. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Manual and the FDA Food Regulation 1999 established regulations for restaurants and retail food stores, allowing the use of chopping boards made of maple or other solid hardwood, and unauthorized use of plastic plates or Specify how the plastic surface should be maintained.

UCD researchers initially set out to find a way to sterilize wooden cutting boards so that they can be used at home, just as plastic materials are considered as safe. They quickly learned that even after the new board is put into use, pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella cannot be recovered from the new board. Unless the researchers contaminate the cardboard with a large number of insects, the bacteria are basically not feasible. Surprisingly, they also found that the new plastic surface can make bacteria persist.

But there was another surprise: the researchers soon discovered that wood cutting boards using knife marks had no more bacteria than new cutting boards, and that the knife-shaped plastic plates “cannot be cleaned and disinfected manually”. When the researchers scanned the plastic plates with electron micrographs, they found that the cutting blades had "very significant damage" to the surface. Bacteria inside the board do not breed and die. Researchers found that the bacteria found on wood boards were washed by hand compared to bacteria found on plastic boards. The researchers found that the bacteria on the old plastic surface was more than the bacteria on the old wood.

The good news for this study is that plastic panels can be successfully cleaned in dishwashers, and small wood panels can be rapidly disinfected in microwave ovens.

The UCD team noticed that another group of researchers who studied Salmonella infections found that people who use wooden cutting boards at home are less likely to infect these infections, and those using plastic (or glass) cutting boards are more likely to be infected.

I am currently using a bamboo chopping board. Its maintenance costs are low, and it is difficult for wood to resist moisture (but don't put bamboo in the dishwasher). Wash my chopping board after use, rinse and dry. Once a month, I wipe it with mineral oil to protect the surface.