Food Safety: Beware of Old Cutting Boards
While there are many opportunities for cross-contamination during food prep, cutting boards, especially well-worn boards, present a higher than average risk.
The key to safety is proper maintenance of the board surface and knowing when it’s time to throw the old board away and start fresh. Your overall food safety system depends on cleaning and sanitizing multiple cutting boards efficiently and effectively to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Here are several key points to consider as you review your risk of cutting board contamination.
How to Properly Clean Cutting Boards
Dirty boards, or boards that are in poor condition, can be a source of contamination, hiding in the bio buildup and in any cracks. Bacteria and viruses can hide in cutting board gouges, cracks, and split-grain areas of wooden boards.
You run the risk of contamination if you do not regularly scrub your boards with brushes and pads in hot detergent solution. The dish machine is not enough. Without aggressive scrubbing, a bio-film builds up which becomes very difficult to remove, and it will harbor germs. Also, you cannot sanitize a film-covered board. Dirt negates the effectiveness of sanitizer.
General Cutting Board Safety
- Properly clean and sanitize all surfaces between uses
- Warped plastic boards are not stable and increase the potential for knife wounds
- Boards that are used with serrated knives will generally need to be taken out of service quicker
Wooden Board Care
Wooden boards can be as safe as plastic or composite boards, if cared for properly. Wooden boards need to be sealed to avoid absorbing of liquids, such as from raw meats, which can harbor bacteria and lead to cross-contamination.
Here are some tips for wooden cutting boards:
- Do not send them through the dish machine, wash by hand
- Regularly seal wooden boards with a food-grade sealer to minimize absorption
- Use separate boards for raw versus cooked products and a separate board for meats
Carefully consider these factors so you know when to part with your past-prime cutting boards.
At Johnston, we hold food safety as our highest priority within the Foodservice industry. We offer products, such as Purell Food Service Sanitizer, to keep your kitchen clean and avoid contamination. Our heritage means years of accumulated industry knowledge, the ability to see the bigger picture, and the know-how to determine the best possible approach. Combining this mastery with the drive to deliver exceptional results, Johnston goes beyond sales, developing strategic, end-to-end tailored solutions for each customer since 1881.