Posts Tagged ‘preparation’

Making the Cut

February 18th, 2015

cutting board veggiesWhich is better at preventing a foodborne illness outbreak—a wooden or plastic cutting board? This is a long-standing food safety question. Some research suggests wood is a better option, because the pores in the wood can trap and immobilize bacteria, which then die. Other studies, however, suggest bacteria absorbed in wooden boards can in fact survive and could possibly multiply and recontaminate the surface in the future, making plastic seem superior.

The take-away message is that all cutting boards, plastic or wooden, can be sources of contamination. To help prevent contamination, your cutting board needs to be clean and in good condition.

  1. After each use, scrub your cutting board in hot, soapy water, then rinse and allow to air dry.
  2. Using the dishwasher to clean plastic and solid wooden boards is fine, but laminated boards can crack in the dishwasher.
  3. Wooden and plastic cutting boards can be disinfected with a bleach solution (1 tablespoon traditional regular chlorine bleach [6% sodium hypochlorite] per gallon of water or 2 teaspoons concentrated bleach per gallon of water). Pour solution over the surface and let sit for at least one minute; then rinse well and air dry.
  4. It is time to get a new cutting board if your board has cracks, crevices, chips, or grooves where bacteria can hide.
  5. Designate one cutting board for raw meat, poultry, and seafood, and another for vegetables, fruits, breads, and other ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.

For more information, visit the Iowa Food Safety website:

Sources: University of California, Berkley Wellness Letter (December 2014) Food Safety Tips for Food Event Volunteers SP 452:

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Food Safety: Avoiding Cross-Contamination

May 17th, 2012

Chicken on cutting boardCross-contamination is a potential risk when preparing a variety of foods. It happens when harmful bacteria from one food, especially raw meat, is transferred to another food. It usually happens when cutting boards, knives, counter tops, and your hands are not washed after handling each food item.

Steps to prevent cross-contamination include:

  • When shopping, keep produce and meats separate by putting each in plastic bags. Make sure the grocery bagger keeps them separate as well.
  • Always use a clean cutting board. If possible use different boards for fresh produce and raw animal products. Also, do not use excessively worn cutting boards; replace them.
  • Wash dishes and counter tops with hot soapy water before and after preparing each food item. When refrigerating food, make sure juices from raw meat and other animal products do not drip onto other foods. Keep them in sealed plastic bags or containers and stored below ready-to-eat food items.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling food, allowing about 20 seconds while using soap and warm water.

Get more information on how to avoid cross-contamination.

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Food Safety Tip

April 27th, 2011

Cutting BoardCutting boards are one of the most common kitchen items that can cause cross contamination. A different cutting board should be used for raw meat, poultry, and seafood than is used for preparing ready-to-eat foods like salads and fruits.

Produce may not be cooked before serving, so contaminants will not have a “kill step” prior to consumption. Consider purchasing different color cutting boards and designate each color for a particular food. For example, red for meat, yellow for poultry, white for grain products, green for vegetables.

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