Cutting Board Experiment

Karl Roberts kr1 at PGSTUMAIL.PG.CC.MD.US
Fri Mar 5 09:17:50 EST 1999

Wood cutting boards have both advantages and disadvantages.  Depending
upon the type of wood, there could be several different chemical agents
which are naturally produced by the tree remaining in the cut wood which
have bacteriostatic or disinfecting properties.  At the same time,
however, wood is very porous, so hearty food-bourne pathogens or
intoxicating agents produced by bacteria such as S. aureus could "hide
out" or not be exposed to quick swipes with towels or inefficient cleaning
strategies.  Regardless of composition, it is always a good idea to clean
your cutting board thoroughly, wash hands, and follow good sanitary
procedures when preparing any food.

Karl J. Roberts, Ph.D.

On 5 Mar 1999, N S Uyeda wrote:

> >About the experiment, it has been done before. Wood came out better in the
> >long
> >run. It explained why butchers use wooden blocks.
> In real life I suspect that plastic would do better. At least in my kitchen I
> flush the plastic board with bleach solution or strong detergent, but I give
> wood more of a quick wipe because of possible warping and opening of the grain.
> Plastic goes in the dishwasher too. And an antibacterial plastic (what is that
> anyway?) was the only plastic board I found on my last trip to our local
> Target.
> I just never did think that experiment would hold true in the kitchen of any
> semi-informed cook.
> S. Uyeda

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