Re: Health Food safety Cutting Boards Re: colored cuttingboards
From: Wayne Tyson (
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2013 13:01:07 -0700 (PDT)

Physical scrubbing and rinsing are useful, but the bottom line in food safety with respect to bacteria (I'd like to know still more about viruses and bacteria in this context), is whether or not they are present after whatever procedure is used. A lot probably (more studies are needed, not just opining from cooking magazines' "experts" alone, which/who commonly fail to provide references to research or any kind of proof of their assertions).

If, say, one's vegetables and meats are "clean," or without bacteria or viruses, perhaps rinsing off visible material is good enough, perhaps not. Probably (though I have no studies to cite), dosage (how many bacteria or viruses) is important, but I don't know what the "critical" count is; whatever the critical level is, more many be worse than less, which may or may not be better. Exposure time, temperature, pH, salinity, and other factors all combine to either favor or disfavor bacteria and, presumably, viruses.

"Obsession" over clean boards at least follows the precautionary principle. Food residues, especially meats, are, in effect, culture media upon which bacterial populations can explode rather rapidly under the right conditions. In other words, why not use one or more of the various bactericides? Obsession would be using antibiotics, I suppose--not advisable. Context is everything. Are there any situations under which one should use soap or other cleansing agents, or should one NEVER use them?


"The suspension of judgment is the highest exercise in intellectual discipline." R. M. Gilmore

"The worst kinda ignerance ain't s' much not knowin', as 'tis knowin' s' much that aint' so." --H. W. Shaw

----- Original Message ----- From: "R Philip Dowds" <rpdowds [at]>
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2013 2:19 PM
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Health Food safety Cutting Boards Re: colored cuttingboards

I remember reading a test report in Cook's Illustrated (by "America's Test Kitchen") that claimed hardwood (maple) cutting boards contained natural antiseptics that made them at least as germ free as the synthetic (plastic) boards. In any event, I've been using oak, maple and bamboo cutting boards for decades, with nary an instance of food poisoning. For better or worse, I do not obsess over cleaning these boards; I just scrub and rinse them.


On Mar 16, 2013, at 5:29 PM, Wayne Tyson <landrest [at]> wrote:

Good stuff--thanks! I agree on the replication requirement; more should be
done, and done far better, on food safety and both bacteria and viruses.
Some labs can be trusted; others tell their clients what they want to hear
(and who knows how much actual testing was done and how well?).

I have used vinegar too. In some cases I might use vinegar, soda, salt,
alcohol, and hot soapy water in addition to a four-hour sun-bath. But all of
this is deductive folklore; GIGO looms its ugly head.


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