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Are Wood Cutting Boards "Safe" ???

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  • Are Wood Cutting Boards "Safe" ???

    I know this is a woodworking forum but I have a debate with my wife that I would love some opinions on. The story is that my parents were visiting this week and I grilled a large pork loin roast for a meal. I then tossed it on our wood cutting board over the Kohler sink like always to slice. My wife went a little out of control saying that it is unsafe and pulled out a plastic cutting board which is against my woodworking / barbeque religions.

    I know that for raw meat like chicken you need to use hot water & soap after use but she said that with us using it for vegetables that there shouldn't be ANY meat raw or cooked. I've been using them all my life and never got sick so I was a little .............. !!!!!! I am also a barbeque groopie so she was messing with my masterpiece by placing it on ugly white plastic.

    As I have been checking out the finished cutting boards posted as an upcoming project I could use some serious help. Wood versus ugly, boring, plain, flat, molded not routered edges, place on the counter in an incovenient spot for cutting, cheap, dishwasher safe, did I say very ugly white plastic ????

  • #2
    This is from John Boos
    Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. - Thomas Edison


    • #3
      Originally posted by Tom Slick View Post
      Wow, Tom, that is really interesting. This is also a source of much discussion in my household. I printed the Boos report to further the dialog (why do I do these things?).

      In any case, using a bleach solution is highly recommended by professionals when cleaning surfaces on which meat has been prepared. Also for cleaning knives and other utensils that have touched meat. I'm not that religious, but I know I should be.



      • #4
        That is hillarious. A University of Wisconsin - Madison report from the Ag and Life Science College actually uses the word "ain't" in the report.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jeffrey Schronce View Post
          That is hillarious. A University of Wisconsin - Madison report from the Ag and Life Science College actually uses the word "ain't" in the report.
          Well, to be fair, they were just using a colloquialism. For correct form, though, the entire phrase "it just ain't so" should have had quotes around it.

          Tom (who ain't a real stickler, but does no good from bad English, but doesn't always show it)


          • #6
            The meat was cooked.

            No problem.

            Your wife was right (those of you who are married know what I mean )

            Drywall screws are not wood screws


            • #7
              I have two cutting boards - one for meat and one for everything else. Clean both boards with hot, soapy water and use a little bleach on the meat board. I prefer wooden boards as well (big surprise!). Besides being a lot more attractive, my knives don't seem to dull as quickly.


              • #8
                Thanks for the site Tomslick. I appreciate learning stuff like this. Sure surprised me though.
                May you die and go to heaven before the Devil knows you're dead. My Best, Mac


                • #9
                  Since I am both a doc and a caterer (retired doc but not quite retired caterer yet) I can tell you the answer to "is the wood board safe" is answered by "it depends"

                  If the wood is Oak for example the answer is NO if it is Maple then the answer is YES

                  Maple will actually kill bugs and plastic has NO killing affect

                  The plastic boards have ONE advantage if NEW they leave no place for the bacteria to get into. If cut (like most are) they are actually far less safe then wood

                  If a food inspector looks at your boards and they are wood (NSF approved) then they are fine if they are cut plastic they are TRASHED on site.

                  So to answer to the question "is wood safer then plastic?" COULD be yes and is likley yes but make sure the wood is maple (there are some other woods that wook as well walnt being one but they are few and far between) and if plastic make sure there are no cuts in the surface

                  Either one can and should be cleaned with iodophor cleaners (commercial stuff) or the home cleaner version called bleach disolved in water

                  Good luck and you win this one with the wife so enjoy

                  Dr Dave
                  Newest site to learn woodworking, DIY and Home Renovation.
         built by woodworkers for woodworkers and supported by the industry so everyone wins

                  If you are in the Orlando area contact me lets get together and talk saw dust (or food or anything else you like except sports)

                  My wife and I are National Food Judges so we CAN talk food with the best.

                  Dr Dave


                  • #10
                    Yeah and now all he has to do is throw that in the little ladies face. Bet she eats that up - or him!
                    May you die and go to heaven before the Devil knows you're dead. My Best, Mac


                    • #11
                      I say use the wood. Maybe nobody else will eat but you (unsafe). You get to win twice!

                      Do you know about kickback? Ray has a good writeup here...

                      For a kickback demonstration video


                      • #12
                        We only use wood (maple) cutting boards. I too, do not like plastic and was happy to read Doc's earlier post that plastic was less sanitary.

                        Years ago when I first graduated from high school, my first job was in a restaurant. They were very picky about cleanliness in the kitchen and one of my jobs was to clean everything to the boss's specs. We had a large maple cutting board in the sandwich area and another in chef's area. Both were cleaned twice a day, top and bottom! First with a soap solution and then with a bleach solution. We never failed an inspection!

                        Today, we clean both our boards in the same manner, before and after use.

                        My biggest aggrevation is sponges, which my wife likes to use. I prefer dish-rags. She says microwaving them keeps them sanitary, but it grosses me out. To say the least, there has been some discussion about this.

                        Think it Through Before You Do!


                        • #13
                          Those magic words: Yes Dear!!!
                          "All things are difficult before they are easy"


                          • #14
                            Well here's the update ... I printed out the science article which I thought nailed it and that was instantly rejected with the date being circled .... "it's over 13 years old, that isn't relevant anymore, and I bet you spent your whole day googling to find something that supports only your view" !!! Second tactic was the dual cutting board suggestion with the bleach spray and that went over what somewhat better. I'll try cutting and pasting Doc's comments and see how that flies. The upside is that it does gives me amunition to work in the shop longer ... I need to build two of these so we are SAFE!!!

                            One background piece of info is that my wife is a occupational therapist and works in a hospital so you have a heathcare professional on one side and a marketing guy on the other side of the debate. Another backgrounder to add that I live by is there is a 1000 people you can meet and marry and only one you can't live without. I married to one I can't live without ... why or why did she have to bring a plastic cutting board into the house in the first place ???


                            • #15
                              I saw a bamboo cutting board and wondered if it had the same qualities as Maple or would it be in the oak category?