cutting board with knife resting between two halves of an onion
Photo: Alexandra Bandon
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Pick Your Cutting Board

While the question of whether wood or plastic is a cleaner surface for a cutting board is more about food-borne pathogens than about flu virus, it's worth noting that germs of any kind can live on either one. And food poisoning is as much an issue these days as the flu.

So which is safer? The Food Safety Laboratory at the University of California at Davis is leaning toward wood. Plastic cutting boards can go right in the dishwasher, a virtue that's won favor among many germ slayers. But if you are washing by hand, a knife-scarred plastic cutting board holds onto bacteria, and wooden cutting boards do not. Robert Donofrio, Director of the microbiology laboratories at NSF, says to be safe, have one board for veggies and another for meat. Plastic boards must be washed in a dishwasher. Wooden boards should be made of hard, closely-grained woods, such as maple.
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