Cutting Board Cross Contamination And How To Avoid It


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).


  1. all good, common sense.

    I guess, on this line of thinking, maybe those glass/pyrex cutting boards are good, as they don’t (I think) get those little cuts, easier to sanitize.

    maybe some folks do not like cutting on them, but…

    I have a couple of those, use a lot. easy to sanitize, dishwasher or bleach.

    have others too, always stick those in dishwasher after use.

    1. When using hard surfaces like glass or ceramic boards to cut or chop foods, they dull your knives faster. Just a note ;-)

  2. I bought a couple knife-and-kitchen scissor sets in different color. The red set is for raw meat, the green set for raw vegies. If I goof my sanitation, this provides a safety fall-back.

    1. gosh..John Galt…”ALL” food?


      am amazed this story does not come with stories of illness…

      am sure she cleans it each time..but..

      to make matters worse….what type of counter is it? most are fairly porous.

      you may think I jest, but I do not.
      I think the only solution is for you to develop a AVID love of food prep, and gallantly hand her a cup of coffee/glass of wine, tell he you would love for her to rest while you do the food prep. tell her it has long been a secret yearning of yours. (no need to go into details “why”)

  3. I use large plastic lids for veggie cutting like the ones from Cocoa cans and whipped topping. Just washing them in soap and water cleans them because veggies don’t have the harmful bacteria that meat does. These cost nothing.

  4. Wooden cutting boards
    Wood has a natural ability to disinfect.
    Many people I know refuse to use anything else then wooden boards

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