cutting boards

Discussion in 'Ruffit's Domestic & Wild Game Cooking/ Recipe Foru' started by Bobitis, May 1, 2011.

  1. Bobitis

    Bobitis Guest

    Do you clean them?

    When I got this place 6 years ago, I cleaned the board with bleach and water.
    That was the last time. I just wipe it off with a towel after I use it.

    Am I lucky, or is there too much hype surrounding the matter?
  2. Juker

    Juker New Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Land of Lincoln
    Well, knock me down with a feather - I had a big response all typed out railing against the bacterial perils of wooden cutting boards... Then I decided to see who's been testing them. Found this right away on the UC Davis website:

    We began our research comparing plastic and wooden cutting boards after the U.S. Department of Agriculture told us they had no scientific evidence to support their recommendation that plastic, rather than wooden cutting boards be used in home kitchens. Then and since, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry Inspection Manual (official regulations) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 1999 Food Code (recommended regulations for restaurants and retail food sales in the various states of the U.S.) permit use of cutting boards made of maple or similar close-grained hardwood. They do not specifically authorize acceptable plastic materials, nor do they specify how plastic surfaces must be maintained.

    Our research was first intended to develop means of disinfecting wooden cutting surfaces at home, so that they would be almost as safe as plastics. Our safety concern was that bacteria such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella, which might contaminate a work surface when raw meat was being prepared, ought not remain on the surface to contaminate other foods that might be eaten without further cooking. We soon found that disease bacteria such as these were not recoverable from wooden surfaces in a short time after they were applied, unless very large numbers were used. New plastic surfaces allowed the bacteria to persist, but were easily cleaned and disinfected. However, wooden boards that had been used and had many knife cuts acted almost the same as new wood, whereas plastic surfaces that were knife-scarred were impossible to clean and disinfect manually, especially when food residues such as chicken fat were present. Scanning electron micrographs revealed highly significant damage to plastic surfaces from knife cuts.

    Although the bacteria that have disappeared from the wood surfaces are found alive inside the wood for some time after application, they evidently do not multiply, and they gradually die. They can be detected only by splitting or gouging the wood or by forcing water completely through from one surface to the other. If a sharp knife is used to cut into the work surfaces after used plastic or wood has been contaminated with bacteria and cleaned manually, more bacteria are recovered from a used plastic surface than from a used wood surface.

    "Manual cleaning" in our experiments has been done with a sponge, hot tapwater, and liquid dishwashing detergent. Mechanical cleaning with a dishwashing machine can be done successfully with plastic surfaces (even if knife-scarred) and wooden boards especially made for this. Wooden boards, but not plastics, that are small enough to fit into a microwave oven can be disinfected rapidly, but care must be used to prevent overheating. Work surfaces that have been cleaned can be disinfected with bleach (sodium hypochlorite) solutions; this disinfection is reliable only if cleaning has been done successfully.
  3. flintlock

    flintlock Active Member

    Aug 14, 2007
    Upstate NY
    I've always used wood cutting boards. Cleaned them after use, nothing special, and no one's ever come down with anything because of it.
  4. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    West Tennessee
    I had read about wood being superior, contamination wise.

    Now -

    I have never owned a bamboo board, but am looking at them.
    Are they REALLY the best?
  5. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    We use plastic ones here in the camp kitchen. They are a much, much better choice when they are used by people who don't have an "investment" in them, as they will take much more abuse. Bleach and a belt sander will turn stains back into bright white. :D

    We have a nice wooden one for the house.

    That said, you really ought to be cleaning the thing. Many food-borne bacteria can live for a long, long time at room temperature. If you've never had food poisoning, consider yourself blessed. And do everything you can to avoid it.
    Bleach will kill everything, but it may also change the taste of the next food item you cut. We use this stuff as the final step for just about all of our cleaning in food service areas. The gallon jug costs about $5, and it makes 64 gallons. You just get stuff wet with it (we put it in spray bottles) and let it air dry. Easy.
  6. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth

    IMO, yes, bamboo is the ultimate. Bamboo is also great for flooring too.
  7. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

    Jan 11, 2010

    Bamboo is great! for lots of things , dont by some expencive high tech bambo either go to the asian part of town and buy a cheapy use it for 2-3 years and toss when it starts to stain, thats when the cellulose ( which is anti bacterial in some regards anyway) is cut and allowing dirt in and it aint coming out , but they wont dull your knives !

    that said i use eucalyptus wood generally and currently a polished cross section

    eucalyptus is anti bacterial rather dense with a open grain good for a year or two and then make a new one
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  8. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    West Tennessee
    Thanks, guys!

    I have my eye on a nice one at TJ Max; light and dark laminate bamboo, and a decent size.
    Actually, I want it for a bread board more than a cutting board. I will relegate our present bread board to cutting only, as the surface is getting nicked up pretty bad and causes the dough to stick when I am kneading.
  9. ozo

    ozo Active Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nashville TN
    Wood of any kind is porous.
    Raw meat juice can penetrate, become rancid, and
    allow bacteria to grow. Getting ill effects from this
    depends on your immune system. The human body is
    very incredible at fighting bacterial ingestion.
    I quit using wood at least a decade ago. Not because
    I am paranoid, just a good boy scout.
    I only use the flexible white food grade plastic ones
    for the most part. Not only are they thin and stay in
    place on the counter while in use, but are very inexpensive
    and easy to clean [non-porous].
    Bread boards are completely a different breed........
    no one has probably ever gotten sick from old dough or old flour.

    BTW Terry,
    Do you have any driveway left after all the rain in your area ?
    Last edited: May 4, 2011
  10. cycloneman

    cycloneman Active Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    I use plastic

    vegies get a rinse

    fish, meat get soap and water, or i will just throw it in the dishwasher.

    never really thought about it before now.

    generally anything that i touch with raw meat gets soap and water
  11. Buckshot

    Buckshot Active Member

    May 5, 2009
    Southern AZ
    I bought a two-pack of big, thick, solid bamboo cutting boards at Costco (two-pack...where else...:rolleyes:) about five years ago. The way the first one is holding up I'll be dead and buried before I ever unwrap the second one. They seem indestructible and are easy to clean.
  12. Maximilian II

    Maximilian II New Member

    May 25, 2009
    Northwest GA
    We use both wood and plastic, and I wash them just like I do the other dishes. No ill effects so far.

    PLEASE don't opt for any kind of stone boards to avoid contamination. They ruin good knives!
  13. ka64

    ka64 Active Member

    May 1, 2011
    Use soap and water on mine and then once a month some mineral oil.
  14. AL MOUNT

    AL MOUNT New Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    Cleaning my Thompson in The Foothills of the Ozark
    A spray bottle with a mix of bleach & water
    is recomended by the local health dept.
    Both are pretty darn cheap...
  15. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    West Tennessee
    The dough sticking to the board is a PITA issue rather than a health issue. A nice smooth surface without cuts or nicks, with a bit of flour rubbed in well, or a bit of olive oil (depending on what I am making) makes the kneading a lot easier.

    We lost the drive last year, and TWICE this year.
    I have it back again, but it is pretty rough yet so have to drive out slowly -
    I have started digging the opposit bank of the creek away, into the bluff, to give the water more room. The hope is that this will lower the water level enough to keep it from jumping the driveway. The dirt, gravel and rocks I am digging out, I am putting on the drive to raise it - a double benefit. I have also discovered that the right combination of gravel and mud makes a MUCH more erosion proof drive than gravel alone.
    As the old German proverb says:
    Ve get too soon oldt, und too late schmart!
  16. Airdale

    Airdale Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    N.W. Arkansas

    I ran across this place that makes butcher block counter tops. I ordered a small one for my loading bench. They also make butcher block cutting boards. Single woods or combination and I think they are beautiful with a wide variety of sizes and reasonable prices. Take a look before you make a decision. My loading bench top will be of Hickory.
    The person I talked with at the company was helpful and brightened my day just by speaking to her.

    Click on the board you're interested in and it will display all of the available sizes or you can order custom...Oh ya, made in the U.S.A.
  17. langenc

    langenc Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    Montmorency Co, MI
    I was going to ask about mineral oil. I believe it was applied periodically to nice wooden boards.

    We have a plastic one. Just run it in the dishmachine esp after chicken.
  18. 45nut

    45nut New Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Fixed that for you woolley!! :D :D

    Yo bobby,

    If you've ever placed uncooked chicken on that board and not washed it, you may want to go buy some lottery tickets (get me one too!!)

    I don't use bleach, just dawn dish washing detergent and hot water. The plastic ones go in the dishwasher, wooden are done by hand.

    Research suggests that wooden cutting boards resist bacteria better because they were once living organisms, while plastic ones grew more bacteria than wood by a slight margin. Use both and no salmonella. Had to prove to my wife that my wooden board wasn't a health hazard.
  19. Fast Forward

    Fast Forward Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    Chaska Minn
    A lot of Resturants us color coded Plastic Cutting Boards so they can be used for specific Jobs Chicken, fish, Veggies etc ,,I prefer wood a good thick one won,t warp like plastic
  20. dons2346

    dons2346 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2009
    Move between WA and points south
    Mineral oil will eventually make the board sticky and gummy. Best to use a mild bleach and water solution or a vinegar and water solution. Hydrogen peroxide also works well as a sanitizer.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011