RE: Cutting boards color-code
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 08:58:50 -0700 (MST)
Lets see now, I have been eating food of all kinds from wooden cutting
boards for 44 years now. I can count on the fingers of one hand, the times I
have been throw-up/intestinally ill where I could not specifically blame a
flu virus going around, or something I ate that I disagreed with. Its just a
non-issue in my life at this point, so I can't imagine why it would be an
issue for a whole group to worry about.

At Sharingwood we have used wooden boards for dinners for several years now
without any incident of community illness.  In my opinion based on my
experiences, the fear of such is quite overstated. (Overstated group fears
are pretty common though, its one of the 7 major group dysfunctions)

Rob Sandelin
Northwest Intentional Communities Association
Building a better society, one neighborhood at a time

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cohousing-l [at]
> [mailto:cohousing-l [at]]On Behalf Of Hollie Butler
> Sent: Monday, January 24, 2000 10:10 PM
> To: Multiple recipients of list
> Subject: Re: Cutting boards color-code
> This was my question. There appears to be no scientific evidence that
> supports this.
> There *is*, however, very specific differences between types of cutting
> boards that I've been learning about through some conversations
> with a chef
> and friends.
>  * Plastic Cutting Boards: These are easier to clean. Throwing them in the
> dishwasher takes care of any bug or bacteria that may be on there. The
> downside is that they aren't very pleasing aesthetically, to a lot of
> people.
>  * Wooden Cutting Boards: There are two different camps about
> this one. Both
> camps agree that a wooden cutting board is nearly impossible to clean
> totally. When you cut on a wooden board, you're making grooves in the wood
> (sometimes deep ones) that bugs and bacteria can live in quite happily.
> --> Here's where the camps split: one camp says that by using a generous
> amount of bleach (some folks say this is harmful to the
> environment) you can
> adequately clean a wooden cutting board. (Also, putting a wooden board in
> the dishwasher will cause it to dry out and split within a few weeks.) The
> second camp says that A)using lots of bleach will just end up damaging the
> wood to the point where it will split and be unusable, and B)you
> don't need
> to clean it that harshly anyway because there are already
> chemicals inherent
> in wood that will kill germs and bacteria if they manage to crawl into the
> crevices.
> For myself, I'm going to switch in my own home from wooden boards
> to plastic
> boards, now that we are cooking a lot in our household. The couple of nice
> wooden boards I have will be cleaned well and used for cutting bread and
> other purposes not involving raw food.
> -hollie
> -------------------------
> Trillium Hollow Cohousing
> Portland, Oregon
> hollie [at]
> -------------------------
> ----------
> >From: "Ruddick, T.R." <RUDDICK [at]>
> >To: Multiple recipients of list <cohousing-l [at]>
> >Subject: RE: Cutting boards color-code
> >Date: Mon, Jan 24, 2000, 8:53 AM
> >
> > I've been following this food & health discussion avidly out of personal
> > interest.  One thing I'd like explained:
> >
> > Assuming proper sanitizing and washing procedures, is there any
> scientific
> > basis for thinking that using dedicated cutting boards (one
> only for meat,
> > one for dairy only, one for fruits, one for veggies) actually
> does something
> > for health, sanitation, food purity, or whatever?

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