In the kitchen, there’s one item that can make the difference between a rush to the table and a rush to the hospital: the cutting board. If you use the same cutting board to cut meat that you use to make a salad, you could be flirting with disaster. That’s because when different types of foods (meat or vegetables) are prepared on the same board, there’s a great potential for contamination.
One way to make absolutely certain this never happens is to purchase more than one cutting board. It’s the only way to be completely sure you don’t run the risk of exposing yourself or your family to food poisoning.
Is a little diarrhea something to dread that much you might ask? Yes. One of the deadliest bacteria is E. coli and the very young or old can both die if they ingest the bacteria – and one of the prime ways to be exposed through cross-contamination.
Select cutting boards by their use
In my own home, I have a variety of cutting boards. I have a very large plastic cutting board that I use to prepare foods on and cut vegetables, a white plastic cutting board that I use strictly for meat, a small plastic board for fruit, and a large wooden cutting board that I use to cut and serve bread on.
The white plastic cutting board I use for meat is small enough to fit in the lower rack of the dishwasher so it can be cleaned and disinfected. I only use this for meat and always put it into the dishwasher after using it. Another large plastic cutting board usually sits on top of my counter so I can prepare sandwiches or snacks and I scrub it often in the sink.
What’s the problem with wooden cutting boards? Nothing really. They’re beautiful, but they’re a maintenance nightmare in my opinion. We need to know our boards are sanitary and that’s what poly plastic boards can give you: peace of mind.
They allow you to sanitize them which is most important, but they also don’t absorb food smells and flavors. If you’ve ever cut watermelon on a wooden board that has had garlic chopped on it, you’ll understand.
Remember, select wood cutting boards for vegetables or fruit. If you have to use a wooden board to cut meat, wash with hot water and soap afterwards. But never soak wooden boards in water or put them in the dishwasher. For cutting meat, select a poly or plastic cutting board. These are the best because they can be popped into the dishwasher.
Next time you’re in the kitchen, think about whether you could be taking your health – and your family’s health – into your hands. Why take chances? Your health is worth this extra bit of insurance. Following good healthy food preparation habits will make your living space a healthy one, too.