A Clean Chopping Board for a Healthy Life
Are you paying attention to the condition of your chopping board? Find out why a clean chopping board should be one of your kitchen priorities.
The humble chopping board is one of the essentials in food preparation. As one of the most used tools in our kitchen, we have to ensure it is getting the right care and attention.
Keep in mind that anything that comes into contact with our food can be a possible source of contamination and foodborne illness. Therefore, cleaning our kitchen utensils, including our chopping boards is critical to food safety.
In a study commissioned by the Global Hygiene Council, 40% of reported food poisoning cases are traced back to poor hygiene in the home. It was also revealed that close to 50% of items frequently touched in the home (such as chopping boards) contained harmful bacteria such as E.coli.
Furthermore, according to NHS Direct, the average kitchen chopping board is likely to have 200% more bacteria than the average toilet seat. This is because raw meat, vegetables, and poultry can harbor several types of bacteria. Raw chicken, in particular, is said to already have a 60% chance of containing Campylobacter bacteria.
How to Keep Your Chopping Board Clean?
Because bacteria are not visible to the naked eye, we should take the right precautions against contamination.
The Food Standards Agency suggests we should designate different chopping boards for the preparation of raw and ready-to-eat food. Color-coding these boards will also allow us to prevent cases of food poisoning.
Here are other tips on keeping your chopping board clean:
- Rinse off the food debris from the cutting board after every use.
- Make sure to scrub with soap and water to remove anything in the grooves on the surface of the chopping board.
- Keep the chopping boards dry after cleaning them because bacteria can thrive in a moist environment.
- Store the chopping boards in an upright position to allow air to circulate and help in the drying process.
According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, we can sanitize wood and plastic chopping boards with a solution of one tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach (unscented) per gallon of water. After allowing the solution to stand for a few minutes, we can then rinse with water. The chopping board can then be air-dried or dried with the use of paper towels.
Wood vs. Plastic Chopping Board
Most chopping boards were made of wood, and most people find it easier to clean than plastic chopping boards.
Nonetheless, cutting on plastic chopping boards can cause grooves wherein bacteria could hide. Hardwood chopping boards (such as maple) are said to have fine grains that pull down fluids and trap bacteria so they are killed off when the board dries after cleaning. Softwoods (like cypress), meanwhile, may pose higher food safety risks because of their larger grains. The advantage of this type of wood though is that it does not easily dull the edge of your knife. The important thing is to keep your chopping boards clean, no matter what material it is made from.
Is It Time to Replace Your Chopping Board?
Knowing when to replace your chopping board is also vital. Food safety experts say it is time to buy a new chopping board when your old one is worn out and has accumulated a lot of deep grooves. These areas can trap moisture and give bacteria a place to proliferate.
By keeping your chopping boards clean and sanitized, you protect the health and well-being of your loved ones at home.