How to clean cutting boards properly

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Cutting boards - a germ trap

Think about for a moment – a wooden cutting board is often used to cut meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, cheese and a million and one other things. Sharp knives are used that cut grooves into the wood. These grooves are ideal breeding grounds for all sorts of different bacteria, such as Listeria, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni and Clostridium perfringens. 

The bacteria hide a millimetre or two under the surface of the cutting board and are therefore not as easy to remove as off a plastic or glass cutting board. Cutting boards become germ traps when different foodstuffs are cut on the same surface without the board being washed in between.

How to clean cutting boards

Mere washing in the sink with soap and hot water is usually not sufficient to keep cutting boards clean. Not only do they have to be washed in between preparing different foodstuffs on them, but they need to be given a sound bleaching every few days. After bleaching it (one part bleach to five parts water), it must be properly scrubbed using hot water and then left to airdry. 

Handy hint:
Wooden boards can be sterilised by putting them into the microwave oven for ten minutes on high, but this does not work for plastic, as the surfaces do not get hot enough to kill the germs.

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