Cutting to the Truth of Chopping Board Hygiene

Regardless of the type of chopping board you have, it’s important to know that any surface can easily harbour kitchen bacteria and germs – particularly from raw poultry, fish, and meat.
July 28, 2022

Whether you’re preparing food in a commercial kitchen or at home, it’s important to ensure you’re taking proper food safety precautions to prevent contamination. Food contamination occurs when a food is affected or spoiled by another substance. 
Food preparation surfaces, like chopping boards, pose a cross-contamination risk. That is, they can easily harbour kitchen bacteria and germs from the food being prepared, that can then spread to one’s hands or to other foods prepared on the same surface. 

Items such as raw poultry, fish and meat can contain bacteria and viruses like Salmonella and E.coli – some of the most common causes of food-borne illness. If a cutting board isn’t properly cleaned after preparing such food and then additional food is prepared, there is a risk of spreading those germs. As such, it is essential for food handlers to understand how to best banish bacteria from their kitchen.

Tips for Chopping Board Safety

When using a chopping board to prepare food, follow these steps to ensure safe food handling:

  • Don’t prepare ready-to-eat foods on boards used to prepare raw meat
  • Use rubber or hard acrylic boards instead of wooden options (wood is more likely to absorb materials)
  • Purchase and use different boards for different jobs – such as a red board for raw meat, green for fresh produce, and blue for raw fish
  • Dispose of chopping boards that are scratched and cracked, as bacteria can easily hide within the grooves of old boards
  • Clean all chopping boards with hot soapy water each and every time that you use them, and especially between preparation of different foods if you’re not using various boards (e.g. after raw chicken, before fresh vegetables)
  • Sanitize all chopping boards before putting them away – either with steam or chemical sanitizer
  • Try to leave boards to dry naturally after washing, or use paper towels. Tea towels are particularly dangerous when it comes to cross-contamination within the kitchen and need to be regularly washed and replaced.

For more about food safety training, including more about how to prevent contamination, check out our course page