Are Wooden Cutting Boards Safe? Yes or No?

Are Wooden Cutting Boards Safe? Yes or No?
Recently we added the My Butcher’s Block range of Knysna Blackwood Cutting Boards & other products to our online store’s collection. (Shop them here 👇)
But are Wooden Cutting boards & Wooden Chopping boards safe to use?
We took the time to read many different articles on the subject, and this is what we found.

For a very long time, most (if not all) cutting boards were made of wood. Then at some point plastic cutting boards were introduced with the idea that they were easier to clean (and sanitize), and therefore safer. 

But in the late 1980s, Dean O. Cliver, Ph.D a published expert in food safety and foodborne disease decided to investigate whether plastic cutting boards really were safer. Dean Cliver – who is also a researcher from the University of California (Davis) – revealed that the answer was: plastic is not safer than wood!

He published a series of articles on the bacterial dangers found in in cutting boards as well as methods of disinfecting them.

And he was surprised to find that wood – while reputed to be more bacteria prone and less easily cleaned than plastic cutting boards – actually proved to be more hygienic!

In a Nutshell, it comes down to these proven facts:

1. Bacteria on a wood cutting board seemed to disappear.

Disease bacteria such as E. coli & Salmonella were not recoverable from wooden surfaces in a short time after they were applied, unless very large numbers were used. New plastic surfaces allowed the bacteria to persist, but were easily cleaned and disinfected.

However, wooden boards that had been used a lot and had many knife cuts acted almost the same as new wood. Whereas plastic surfaces that were knife-scarred were impossible to clean and disinfect manually, especially when food residues such as chicken fat were present. Scanning electron micrographs revealed highly significant damage to plastic surfaces from knife cuts.

2. Wooden cutting boards tested showed anti-bacterial properties.

“Hardwoods, like Blackwood, are fine-grained, and the capillary action of those grains pulls down fluid, trapping the bacteria – which are killed off as the board dries after cleaning,” says Ben Chapman, a food safety researcher at NC State. “

One study found that this can happen as quickly as 3 to 10 minutes after the surface of the board being contaminated with harmful bacteria, though greasy substances like chicken fat can remain on the surface of the board and continue to be a food-safety risk for many hours; washing in warm soapy water was sufficient to remove the harmful grease-borne bacteria.

The Meat Board Chicken & Veg

The Meat Board

This is the perfect companion to a South African braai, where there is most often more than one kind of meat on the menu!

Now you can do it all on one board!

From preparing, to braaing, to serving The Meat Board is the perfect all-rounder!

So now that we know that a Wooden Cutting Board & Chopping Board is safe as long as they are cleaned & maintained properly, how do we do that?

My Butcher’s Block has a wonderful Woodcare Range, that was specifically designed to use on wooden boards. But it can conveniently also be used on all your wooden surfaces, like kitchen counters, tables and even kids’ toys!

They are easy to use, with helpful instructions (available on our website) and will ensure that you can enjoy your wooden cutting boards for a lifetime.

Finally, we can't end this article without just mentioning some of the other awesome positives of wooden chopping boards 🤩

  • Wood is much more durable than plastic, so a wooden cutting board does not need to be replaced as often.
  • Wood is gentle on your knives, so using a wooden chopping board will also help them stay sharper for longer.
  • A wooden cutting board is handsome! Maybe not the most important characteristic to consider when stocking your kitchen, but who of us can say that we don’t want our functional items to also be pleasing to the eye. 😉

Go & check out this beautiful Round Cutting Board in our Online Store.

This gorgeous Basic Round Wooden Cutting Board is compact, yet big enough to use for all your daily chopping and food prep.

Basic Round Wooden Cutting Board feature

Also available in this range:

And be sure to keep an eye on our website – as we’ll continue to launch more of the wooden kitchen products in this range! 🤤

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