Re: cutting boards
From: Berrins (Berrinsaol.com)
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 22:39:34 -0700 (MST)
    The only study (reported in the "Nutrition Action" newsletter a few years 
ago) I know of that directly compared wood vs. plastic cutting boards had 
them, when kept clean, essentially similar in germ harboring ability.  
Cutting boards are like culinary "door knobs"; door knobs pass on germs from 
one snotty hand to the next hand grabbing it.  Cutting boards pass on germs 
from one food to the next.  There are two main keys to minimizing this:
    1) Use a sanitizing level of cleaning- lots of hot, hot water and soap.  
Also, plastic can be run through the dishwasher, wood can be bleached.
    This should be done regularly, and definitely immediately after having 
any raw meat or eggs (including batters with raw eggs, like when kneading 
bread with eggs in it) on a board.   Also, wash those knives, hands, bowls, 
counters, anything that had any contact with raw foods.  Even vegies from the 
garden can have bad germs on 'em; wash the vegies thoroughly before putting 
on the cutting boards; 
    2) Throw out cutting boards when they get deeply scratched or get lots of 
scratches.  It's the grooves that are hard to clean and collect the wee 
little beasties.  Wood, I suppose, has a bit of an advantage there, because 
you can either toss it into the fireplace or sand it down and get a new 
surface.

    All this may sound a bit paranoid, but the super bugs out there created 
by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in livestock, as well as the poor 
sanitizing track record of many meat-processing plants (chicken ones are 
notoriously bad) and some vegetable packing plants, make keeping things clean 
even more necessary than just a few years ago.  While most people will 
survive food poisoning, many do not, especially the young, old, and immune 
suppressed.  Cooking for the public demands you keep it clean.  And now that 
you've got me started on the subject, I'll probably have our kitchen 
committee (I'm on it) hold some workshops on sanitation and put up some 
posters.

    In the meantime, happy eating!

        -Roger
          Pathways
          Northampton, MA, USA

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