Unacceptable Material For Cutting Boards

Unacceptable Material For Cutting Boards

Like everyone else, I enjoy using cutting boards as it saves me more time in the kitchen than I would ever imagine. But what is an unacceptable material for cutting boards you should avoid? 

Glass and bamboo are some of the most common materials you should avoid. Glass boards have a slippery surface and could increase your chances of getting cut. On the other hand, bamboo is made from a porous material, so bacteria and other germs can easily become trapped in the wood grain, contaminating the food being cut on the board. Stocking your kitchen with several cutting boards for bread, raw meat poultry, and other foods reduces the high risk of cross-contamination.

In this post, we will talk about unacceptable material for cutting boards and some of the measures you should take each time you choose a cutting board for your kitchen needs, so let’s get started. 

Does Cutting Board Material Matter?

Yes. The material of your cutting board is critical to food preparation and safety. Different board materials come with various advantages and drawbacks, so consider what you need most before buying one.

What Makes a Cutting Board Toxic?

Unrefined petroleum-based mineral oil is not recommended for cutting boards, as they are considered unsafe. A study by the EWG found that such finishes can potentially damage your lungs, liver, eyes, and kidneys. 

While petroleum-based finishes keep your cutting boards durable, they possess some chemicals that could lead to food poisoning, so consider this when maintaining them using these finishes (petroleum-based). 

All surfaces and objects that come into contact with your food can be the source of contamination, from a seemingly innocent chopping board to something more hazardous. Without proper sanitation, these potential contaminants could lead to unfortunate cases of foodborne illnesses.

When you fail to clean your cutting board, it can quickly become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria that can cause food spoilage and numerous illnesses. Disinfecting these microbes is no simple feat; yet if all else fails, chemical agents may be employed as an effective solution.

Nevertheless, natural, non-toxic finishes kill bacteria and aid in minimizing the moisture content from knife grooves. For instance, vinegar, lemon juice, or a coarse salt solution are all ideal solutions for this purpose. Moreover, the toxicity of your cutting board will be contingent on the material it is made out of when you buy it!

What Type Of Cutting Board Is Not Recommended By The FDA?

Despite their aesthetic appeal, the FDA does not recommend bamboo cutting boards. Their porous surface can trap bacteria and other germs in their wood grain which may lead to food contamination- thus making them a potential health hazard for you and your family.

What Kind Of Wood Should You Avoid On A Cutting Board?

Softwoods such as pine, cedar, and spruce should be avoided, as they are easier and more durable than the harder woods such as maple, walnut, or teak. 

If handled properly, softwoods are much more vulnerable to damage, warping, and cracking. Furthermore, the open grain of softwoods can attract dirt and bacteria compared to harder woods.

What Kind Of Material Is Best For Cutting Boards?

Rubber cutting boards are an excellent option for the home chef, as they provide an ample surface to work on while being durable and easy to clean. 

Rubber cutting boards are resilient to cuts, scratches, and knives; they won’t warp or splinter. They are also non-porous, which helps prevent the growth of bacteria and other germs, making them a safe choice for preparing meals.

Wood is also undoubtedly another excellent choice if you’re looking for a cutting board. It has a dense structure that gives easily yet can handle everyday use without harming your knife edges.

Wood is one of the best materials for cutting boards due to its inherent strength and resilience. Moreover, certain types of wood can even repair themselves over time from frequent knife blade contact on their surfaces, especially when cutting raw meat- an incredible property that makes them ideal for use in restaurant kitchens worldwide.

An experiment at the University of Wisconsin observed food poisoning bacteria’s presence on various surfaces. Seven types of wooden cutting surfaces were compared to four types of plastic, and the results showed that all seven varieties exceeded the performance of the plastics.

In the study, wood-cutting boards proved superior for food preparation. While purchasing plastic boards might appear attractive due to their durability, affordability, and sustainability, I strongly recommend against them (plastic boards).

Plastic boardsWood
Plastic boards are feather-light, yet unfortunately, they won’t stand the test of time.They’re tough and have superior impact resistance.
Plastic boards are susceptible to damage.These products are constructed from resilient and durable materials.
Plastic boards cuts are prone to harboring bacteriaSanding can often restore surfaces that have suffered deep scarring.
Cleaning plastic boards is tedious and becomes even more labor-intensive when bacteria inhabit scarred areas.You can clean surfaces with natural and eco-friendly finishes.

Can Any Piece Of Wood Be a Cutting Board?

No, not just any kind of wood can be made into a cutting board – selecting one that is suitable for the task at hand is essential.

A softwood, such as pine, may dent easily and should be avoided. Hardwoods like maple, walnut, or cherry are better options as they are more resistant to wear and tear. 

Unacceptable Material For Cutting Boards

It is also important to ensure that the wood has not been treated with any chemicals or finishes that may be hazardous when in contact with food.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Wood Species for Your Cutting Board 

1. Porosity

Wood species, such as those with closed pores, are far more suitable for cutting boards than others since their grain is invisible to the human eye. This means that liquids and bacteria can’t enter them easily, making them perfect for a safe surface on which to chop your food.

2. Toxicity

Opt for wooden boards crafted from edible fruits instead of ornamental woods like the Purple Heart. Although attractive, these varieties can be toxic and might contaminate any food you place on top of them.

If you’re searching for the perfect cutting board, consider selecting a moderately hard and dense wood species rather than opting for softwoods. Doing so would provide an elevated level of elegance to your kitchen space.

3. Cost

Despite their cost, some people opt for low-quality wood cutting boards. However, the price of such boards may vary depending on the type of wood used in their construction.

Instead of settling for something low quality that wouldn’t last, why not create a durable DIY cutting board with this cutting board kit? It’s the perfect solution for any project!

4. Hardness Rating

For a long-lasting sharp edge, hardwood cutting boards are the ideal choice. Furthermore, if you’re looking for something to keep messy liquids from causing any damage, softwood is your go-to material as it easily absorbs them.

For a cutting board to be of acceptable quality, its Janka rating should ideally range between 900 and 1500. For comparison, the Hard Maple possesses a density of 1450. It is an optimal selection for those who seek only the finest cutting boards.

5. Conditioning

Although all woods vary in how much they shrink, you can use food-grade mineral oils such as Clark’s cutting board oil to restrain your wood from shrinking and splitting.

Best Woods For Cutting Boards

When it comes to finding the perfect wood for cutting boards, three stand out from the rest: Maple, Beech, and Walnut. Not only are they exceptionally durable and non-porous, but also surprisingly affordable, given their widespread availability. Making these woods staples of restaurant kitchens that take pride in quality yet value affordability.

1. Maple

Maple is undoubtedly the most popular choice for cutting boards, as it can withstand scratches and regular use without losing its sharpness. Furthermore, hard maple is quite difficult to stain and offers antimicrobial benefits. Therefore, no matter how often you put your sharp knife or board to work in the kitchen, choosing a  rock maple cutting board will ensure optimal performance.

2. Beech

Beech is a popular option for cutting boards and other cooking utensils due to its non-porous quality that keeps bacteria at bay. Additionally, knives will keep their sharp edge with minimal scratches on beechwood surfaces. The downside of beech is that it can stain quickly, which may prove difficult to remove from the wood surface.

3. Walnut

Walnut is considered the ultimate material for aesthetic beauty, delivering a stunningly dark hue that will transform your kitchen into something truly special. Requiring only minimal upkeep and maintenance, walnut has great durability as well as low porosity – making it one of the best countertop options available!

Is Acrylic Safe For Cutting Boards?

Yes, acrylic is a safe choice for cutting boards. It’s non-porous, so it won’t absorb liquids and bacteria like wood or plastic cutting boards. It’s also easy to clean and sanitize, making it the ideal material for a kitchen cutting board. 

Acrylic is more durable than wood or plastic cutting boards, and its non-slip surface helps keep your food in place while cutting, plus, it’s lightweight and easy to handle. The only downside is that plastic cutting boards are less aesthetically pleasing than wood. But if safety and sanitation are your top priority, then acrylic is the way to go.

Are Acrylic Cutting Boards Hygienic?

Acrylic chopping boards don’t harbor bacteria and germs as long as you care for them properly. They are non-porous and can be washed or disinfected using non toxic finishes. Plus, they are even dishwasher-safe!

Forgo the worry of bacteria seeping through your cutting board by choosing acrylic. Not only is it non-porous, but it also requires no regular oiling to remain waterproof – a stark difference from wood boards!

It is also a more suitable decision when dealing with something that could contaminate your fresh vegetables.

In essence, these boards are great for cutting raw meat and chopping chocolates without getting any residue from earlier tasks. Unfortunately, Acrylic boards tend to degrade with prolonged use.

When you start to see significant wear and tear on your cutting board, accompanied by deep scarring that is hard to remove, it’s time to change; discard those worn-out boards.

Is Bamboo Safe For Cutting Board?

No, using bamboo as a cutting board is not safe. Bamboo is naturally porous, which means it can easily hold onto bacteria and other harmful agents, making it a dangerous surface to cut on.

Bamboo is quite soft and can be easily scratched or gouged, which could make it challenging to keep clean and disinfected. Furthermore, bamboo cutting boards can easily absorb odors and flavors from food, making it challenging to keep them neutral.

Is Polypropylene Safe For Cutting Boards?

Yes, polypropylene is a safe and effective material for cutting boards. Its non-porous nature helps to prevent germs from penetrating the board, making it ideal for food preparation. It also resists wear and tear better than other materials, lasting longer. 

Plus, polypropylene is waterproof, which helps to protect the cutting board from water damage. In addition, polypropylene has a non-slip surface that helps to keep items in place while cutting. This material is also easy to clean and sanitize, making it an excellent option for home and professional chefs.

Is Olive Wood Good For A Cutting Board?

Yes, olive wood is an ideal material for a cutting board. It has antibacterial properties, which help reduce the spreading of food-borne illnesses, and is extremely hard and durable. 

Its closed-grain structure helps to prevent bacteria from getting trapped in the wood, while its natural oils help to keep the wood from drying out and cracking. Its durability makes it an excellent choice for those looking for a cutting board that lasts many years.

Is Cherry Good For a Cutting Board?

Yes, Cherry is an excellent material for cutting boards, as it is durable and beautiful. It’s also easy to clean, doesn’t absorb odors, and is heat-resistant. 

Cherry is a hardwood, so it’s strong enough to handle heavy kitchen tasks without dulling your knives. Not only is cherry an excellent material for cutting boards, but it also adds an elegant look to your kitchen.

Can You Use Pine To Make a Cutting Board?

No, you cannot use pine to make a cutting board because it is too soft and needs to be more dense for a cutting board. It would be damaged easily with the sharp tools used when cutting food, and it could not withstand the moisture of cleaning it.

What Is The Most Sanitary Cutting Board Material?

Ultimately, wood is the most hygienic option for cutting boards. Even though other boards can be kept just as sanitary with regular cleaning and care, wooden boards require less maintenance. Plus, regularly caring for your cutting board will help keep it sharp longer. Hand Wash a wooden board is one way of taking care of them to avoid cracking.

Unacceptable Material For Cutting Boards

Plastic especially high density polyethylene is another popular material for cutting boards, and it can also be very sanitary. A plastic board should have a non-porous surface, which will help keep out bacteria and make it easier to clean. Be sure to choose a BPA-free plastic cutting board made from materials safe for food contact.

Is Cedar Toxic For Cutting Boards?

Cedar is undoubtedly an incredibly beneficial material for cutting boards, given its natural antimicrobial properties that deter bacteria and microbes. Additionally, the wood’s oils help ensure food does not stick to your board when chopping or slicing up ingredients.

On the other hand, cedar is less dense than some other woods and can be rougher on knives. It also can splinter more quickly, so it needs to be sanded, oiled and cleaned regularly to keep it from cracking. In addition, cedar can be toxic to some people who may have sensitivities to its aromatic oils.

Why Is Oak Not Good For Cutting Boards?

Oak is not a good choice for cutting boards because it is too porous and can easily absorb liquids. The cutting board will quickly become stained and easily dull, making cleaning difficult. 

Additionally, the porous nature of oak also means that bacteria can quickly become trapped in its crevices, which can lead to food-borne illnesses and increase the chances of other food safety hazards. The wood is also very hard, dulling your knives over time, so avoiding using oak when choosing a cutting board is best.

How Do You Make a Wood Cutting Board Food Safe?

Wood cutting boards are a staple in many kitchens but can quickly become contaminated with bacteria and other harmful germs. To ensure that your wood-cutting board is safe, there are a few steps you can take.

  • First, buy a wood cutting board made of hardwood, like maple or walnut. Softwoods such as pine can be more easily gouged, creating crevices where bacteria can hide.
  • Second, use food-grade mineral oil to seal the wood cutting board. This will keep it from drying out and help protect against bacteria growth. Apply the oil after every use and allow it to absorb for about 15 minutes before wiping off any excess to avoid a slippery surface.
  • Third, always sanitize your wood cutting board after each use. Clean with hot soapy water then rinse and dry thoroughly. You can also use a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water, a bleach solution or a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution for a deeper clean.
  • Finally, replace your board every few years if it becomes cracked or warped. This will help ensure that your cutting board remains safe and bacteria-free.

What Is The Cleanest Cutting Board?

Marble cutting boards are renowned for their impeccable cleanliness due to their non-porous material, which prevents bacteria and germs from adhering to the surface. Consequently, they make sure your kitchen is always sanitary while you cook.

When choosing a cutting board, looking for a smooth surface is important. This will help prevent food particles from getting stuck in the board’s grooves and make it easier to keep clean. Additionally, having a dishwasher-safe board will make cleaning even easier.

Do Professional Chefs Use Wooden Cutting Boards?

Professional chefs typically use wood cutting boards for most of their food preparation. Wood cutting boards are a popular choice in many restaurant kitchens because they are durable and long-lasting, have the best material, easy to clean and create a clean surface for food preparation. 

Unacceptable Material For Cutting Boards

Wooden boards also provide more cushion than plastic cutting boards, making it easier to chop vegetables or meat without causing damage to the blade of the chef’s knife.

In addition, wooden cutting boards can be seasoned with oil to create a naturally non-stick surface. To keep their wood cutting boards in top condition, professional chefs often use mineral oil to condition the wood regularly and avoid scratches and warping from water damage. 

Wood cutting boards are also an attractive addition to any kitchen, making them ideal for cooking and presentation. With proper care, wood cutting boards can last a lifetime and remain a staple of professional chefs’ toolkits.

Denzil Otieno

Denzil is a freelance content marketer with an eye for detail and a knack for making even the driest of topics interesting. He's worked with some of the biggest brands in the world, but he's not one to rest on his laurels - he's always looking for new challenges and ways to improve his skills. In his spare time, Denzil enjoys reading (especially anything by Terry Pratchett), watching films (he has a soft spot for 80s action movies) and spending time with his wife and two cats.

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