Anything that touches the raw food can be an ideal source of foodborne diseases and cross-contamination – cutting boards are one of the biggest contributors.
Slicing raw food such as chicken, meat, fish, and more, and using the same cutting board to slice fruit or vegetable that will be eaten raw can run a high risk of cross-contamination, where foodborne diseases from Salmonella, E.coli, and more could transfer from a raw meat to another food, which could lead to various foodborne illnesses and even food poisoning.
Of course, you can wash and clean the board for every after you use it; however, how sure are you that the cutting board has been cleaned enough to be used again with another food, especially foods that wouldn’t go over the fire?
For that reason, it is essential to find out which cutting board is more sanitary – hardwood, softwood, or plastic?
#1: Plastic cutting board
A plastic cutting board is a widely used cutting board around the globe. You’ll find thousands of brands and designs that are sold in several depots and marketplaces today. But did you know that despite its popularity, plastic cutting boards harbor food pathogens more than your bare hand can?
Plastic cutting boards are sanitary to use, as long as it is well-cleaned; however, due to frequent use, the cutting board will start to create a lot of grooves, where the bacteria can hide. For that reason, it becomes unhealthy to use, especially when you are slicing fruits or ready to eat foods.
#2: Wooden cutting board (Hardwood and Softwood)
Wooden cutting boards are quite expensive than the plastic ones. Most of these are made from hardwood, such as maple, walnut, oak, and more. Since it is hardwood, expect that it is quite heavy but durable.
Hardwood-made cutting boards are less likely to harbor bacteria since it is impossible to create grooves and cuts when you are cutting food; plus, the fine-grained cutting board pulls down the fluid from the food, thus, trapping the bacteria and are killed off as soon as the cutting board cleaned and dried. However, one of the biggest drawbacks of using hard-wood cutting board is it can easily make your knife dull.
Softwood-made cutting boards, on the other hand, will make your knife dull, however, similar with plastic cutting board, softwoods may pose a greater risk to food safety; this is because, softwoods have larger grains and can easily form cuts and grooves, providing the disease-causing-bacteria a good place to thrive.
So, between the two kinds of wood, experts always recommend using hardwood-made cutting boards; if the knife’s being dull is one of the biggest problems of using hardwood cutting boards, you may always use some knife sharpening tools or stone to keep its sharpness whenever you use it.
All three materials are sanitary to use as a cutting board; however, both plastic and softwood-made cutting boards are fast to become dull and unsanitary, unlike hardwood-made cutting board. So, if you are going to choose between hardwood, softwood, and plastic cutting board, you should choose hardwood.