Cutting Board Cross Contamination And How To Avoid It

November 22, 2014, by Ken Jorgustin

cutting-board-cross-contamination

A necessary tool in any kitchen is a cutting board. Most kitchens contain several. A problem is – cross contamination of foods could get you sick. Very sick.

Preparedness not only includes plans, supplies, and ‘know-how’, but it also involves good safe practices, which are especially important during times when medical help may not be as accessible. That aside, no one wants to get sick from contaminated food – and if it has happened to you before – then you know what I mean. Very unpleasant.

Here’s what to do:


 
One way to ensure less chance of food cross contamination (meat/blood with any foods that might be consumed raw) is to designate a cutting board for each type.

Even though thorough washing of a cutting board will mostly ensure safety for the next use, one never knows for sure (the bad stuff is invisible). If you always use a specific cutting board for meats, and given the fact that meats are cooked prior to eating, even if there was a slight contamination left on the board from a previous washing – the cooking will finish it off.

It’s far different though for vegetables, especially eaten raw. The tiny grooves in a cutting board caused by the knife itself provides a potential breeding ground for bacteria that may have resisted your last washing. If you had used your cutting board last for poultry (for example), and if there had been a trace of Salmonella (which you might not have know about because cooking the poultry eliminated it from your meal), it may be hiding in the tiny grooves or anywhere else on the cutting board which a thorough washing may have missed. When you go to cut those carrots, peppers, or whatever else – you are potentially cross contaminating those vegetables, and you’re about to get sick…

The best safe practice is to designate a specific cutting board for meat and another for vegetables. Simple, but safer.

Don’t buy two of the same kind of cutting board because you might mix them up. Instead, use boards that are physically different from each other. Or I suppose that you could color code them somehow (if they are the same).