Cutting Boards:  Wood or Plastic

January 17, 2016

Cutting Boards: Wood or Plastic


I love my handmade wooden cutting boards.  They are literally my favorite possessions.

I was talking with my Aunt-Mom recently about the age-old “wood vs. plastic” cutting board question.  I have a bias for wood because my Dad makes such beautiful wooden cutting boards, so I decided to revisit the research.

The Huffington Post published a really nice summary of the research and conventional wisdom in 2014.

Contrary to popular belief, plastic cutting boards are not automatically safer than wood. Studies have shown that wood can actually be more sanitary in the long run. People assume that because wood is a porous surface and plastic isn’t, plastic boards are more resistant to bacteria. This assumption doesn’t take into account the scars a plastic cutting board will get from daily use.

I recommend reading the article if you’re interested in this topic.  The bottom line is that bacteria lives in the grooves made by knives, whether the cutting board is wood or plastic.  And therefore, you want to eliminate grooves or discard old cutting boards.  And there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY I’m going to discard the cutting boards my Dad made for Christmas in 1974 or this new one after a few years of use.  What to do?

My takeaway from reading the article and related research is to use the advice from my Aunt-Mom that came along with my Dad’s handmade wooden cutting board gift this year:

  • occasionally sand it gently to remove any grooves to keep the cutting surface smooth and not provide a haven for bacteria.
  • don’t cut raw meat or seafood on the same cutting board as vegetables or any other ingredient that won’t be cooked.

It’s just that simple.

Read about my cutting boards here to understand why I’m so attached to them.

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