I like my cutting boards that can be sterilized in a microwave

I was going to say almost the exact same thing. Also, everything is a chemical. Water is a chemical.

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Which means any time you aren’t sterilizing them or sanitizing them with bleach they can harbor bacteria

Any NSF/ANSI 184 dishwasher will sanitize anything put inside it - scarred cutting board or raw hamburger.

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Indeed, the most common way to make TPE (what this board is made out of) antibacterial is using silver though if it is getting wet constantly, I’d expect it to lose its antibacterial action over time since they usually work by releasing silver ions in the presence of moisture.

Wait…you guys area saying silver is a good thing for your diet.
Are you going to join the blue man group for that one?

Don’t be silly, I’m not against “chemicals” I’m saying that an additive that can survive a dishwasher on a cutting board might be suspect for further inquiry.

I’m all for chemicals. I use bleach for cleaning a sink…and wash the plastic cutting boards in the dishwasher. But they don’t have an embedded ‘antimicrobial’ element to the cuting board that survives the dishwasher heat and wash cycle.

As has been pointed out, embedded antimicrobials could be silver or copper. That’s almost certainly not the case with this mat, but I wouldn’t dismiss it just because it’s an antimicrobial embedded in plastic. Anywho, I prefer to cut on a granite countertop. It doesn’t fit in the microwave very easily, though.

Any regular dishwasher should clean and sanitize a normally dirty knife-scarred plastic cutting board. (The Davis studies tried very hard to duplicate normal home kitchen conditions.) If you take such a cutting board and work on it, then it will get dirty again. And if you leave it out for a couple of days after doing so, it might get moldy. Nobody is advocating for that.

Part of my focus on this comes from working in restaurants.

I don’t think any restaurants are going to be buying the boards Mark is advocating for. And those pull-through knife sharpeners he likes aren’t going to get knives sharp enough to seriously damage a good high-density polyethylene board.

Cheese maker, Brewer, vinter, kombucha enthusiast, and sourdough Wrangler. I am not a microbiologist, and I am not giving medical advice. With that out of the way:

@Ryuthrowsstuff is mostly correct. The gold standard for sanitary equipment is 302 stainless. But you don’t cut on that because it will ruin your knives. Plastic is fine, you just throw it away when it gets gouged or scratched. Wood, for cutting blocks is the perfect balance–it is self healing, easy on your knife, and if you have an actual block you can mechanically remove infections (i.e. a sander).

When Brewers use brettanomyces, lactic cultures, or exotic strains of secondary fermentation material they generally use secondary equipment. It is way, way to easy to miss an infection spot, and this holds true with sanitation for virtually all food prep.

So this takes me to my sanitization routines.

Mechanical first. This is what makes wood outstanding. You can literally sand, use a torch to char it, sand, oil, and it’s both sanitary and beautiful.

Oxidation. For non wood pieces oxidizers work wonders. It won’t repair scratched plastic, but might extend it’s life span.

Sterilizing agents. Ethanol works great. Bleach is fine. Iodaphore and star San are also fine. But ya gotta do the first two, otherwise good luck.

With that said I still eat stinky cheese made from raw milk.

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I have several cutting boards. The three smallest are wood, but my favorite is the one that is simply a chunk of a 8" wide plank I had left over from a cabinetry project. It’s all one piece, so I never have to worry about glued together joints giving way, and it survives the dishwasher just fine. My uncle gave me a cutting board he had made from slabs of mesquite. He warned me never to wash it in the dishwasher, and although it’s tough as nails, I dropped it and splintered off a corner. It gets used only a few times a month, while the other gets used almost as often as the dishwasher cycles.

I also have 2 large plastic slabs for big things like roasts, but use them rarely. The largest I have to bleach and scrub in the sink, it’s too big for the dishwasher. The other barely fits.

Sure. If its working properly, set properly, and reasonably new. But if you aren’t doing that immediately before use. The board is not sanitized or sterilized when you use it. If you’re concerned about sanitation the “this is how I clean things after I use them” discussion is a bit backwards. Sanitizing things after you use them is somewhat pointless. It has to be sanitized immediately before it contacts what you’re trying to keep from contamination.

I guess you didn’t click my link. THAT SAID. That dude was drinking pretty massive quantities of coloidal silver. Which causes that thing I linked to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argyria. Which contains this great little fact: “While silver is potentially toxic to humans at high doses, the risk of serious harm from low doses, given over a short term, is slight”. At levels we commonly contact it silver is pretty harmless. Actual definitive health effects from large amounts are pretty limited. Reduced kidney function and damage to night vision.

See above. The issue isn’t that the dishwasher can’t sanitize things, when used right and working properly. Its that that scaring makes it potentially unreliable, and contamination a repeating occurrence. As well as the order in which most people go about sanitizing things. It makes sense to clean things after use. In the case of scarred up plastic it may make sense to sanitize after use. But in terms of spreading contamination around to cooked food, if that board is not sanitized before it contacts the food you’ve kind of missed the contamination boat.

A lot of this can be avoided by the simple act of sanding down the board as a part of regular maintenance. You don’t have to ditch plastic, run it though a damn autoclave, spray it with bleach constantly. Just hit it with a sander every 6 months or so.

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That’s nearly as bad for your knives as the glass. And its not too good for the granite either, shit is surprisingly finicky.

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It is sanitized before it contacts the food, just not immediately before. If I dishwash a cutting board, put it in my cutting board cabinet, take it out before cooking, throw a slab of meat on it for slicing, then cook the meat, there is no problem. The miniscule amount of bacteria the board might have accumulated in the cabinet isn’t going to spread in the meat in the 5 minutes before I cook it.

If I cook the meat first then put it on the board for slicing, there’s still no problem; our cutting board is as clean at that point as our dishes and flatware that have been stored after washing in exactly the same way.

If you leave the board out all day and use it for cutting one thing after another, then there are all kinds of problems that can ensue, starting with cross-contamination. Fortunately there is no reason for the average cook not to just pull out fresh cutting boards for use as necessary, then toss them in the dishwasher as they are used.

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How does scarring make sanitization in my dishwasher’s sanitize setting unreliable? I simply don’t understand the mechanism.

My dishwasher washes everything at 162 F for an hour and a half (sanitize option on it is really just a paranoia setting which simply runs longer, not hotter). At that 160 F, you reach 7-log lethality (99.9999999% reduction) for salmonella, listeria and e. coli in less than a minute. Sure, it takes a couple minutes for the entire cutting board to hit that temperature since it is a pretty poor conductor, but after an hour and a half wash, none of the dangerous foodborne pathogens I’m likely to come across are depleted to a level unlikely to harm anyone.

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Stainless steel is used in sanitary environments because A) it is naturally non-porus and resists scratches, B) it does not rust which would form pits for bacteria, and C) it can hold up to aggressive heat and chemical cleaning. All that means that it can be effectively cleaned. It is also relatively non reactive for a metal, so it won’t cause problems like imparting flavors to food or cause inflammation problems when used surgically. But copper alloys (like bronze) are much better anti-microbial surfaces. I believe the current thinking, for instance, is that bronze doorknobs are better than stainless steel because you can’t practically clean them often enough for the stainless steel to have an advantage.

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Ok. Um … fuck it, I’ll use the food processor.

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Amoral marketing shitheel #1: We’re selling 3-packs of these stupid things, as well as a useless piece of plastic “microwave cover”? Seriously? Aren’t people going to find that, you know, a tad excessive?

Amoral marketing shitheel #2: What if we called it the “Enviroboard”?

AMS #1: Raises for everyone!

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As to the superiority of wood, that’s only unfinished wood. Oil it, and it’s just another plastic, but you can’t run it through the dishwasher. So, plastic it is for me.

I wonder about using a wood plane to resurface your cutting boards?

This was the old site I used to see cited all the time about that. I bet there’s a more recent version out there now.

http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/docliver/Research/cuttingboard.htm

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People should stop freaking out about “sanitary.” All cutting boards harbor bacteria (some of which eat plastics) and should be properly cleansed after use.

But why spend that kind of cash for something which is nonbiodegradable and butt-ugly to boot? You can get perfectly usealbe wood boards for a few bucks. (Or a few hundred if you want one with inlaid exotic woods :slight_smile: )

@d_r

You’ve got very narrow, tight grooves trapping moisture and dirt below the surface of the plastic. Plastic is a pretty good insulater. If the right level of heat isn’t penetrating to the depth of the cuts the deep parts can retain contamination. Run it in energy saver, have an old machine that doesn’t get as hot. Etc. You may not be doing that. More over not everything that can cause a problem is destroyed at these temps. Spores, toxins, some fungi, certain bacteria. Can survive it. Botulism is the classic example. It’s spores require pretty high temps (over boiling) for several minutes to break down. And the toxin it produces isn’t really heat sensitive. Though your not getting botulism on a cutting board, just doesn’t have the conditions needed. But it’s decent example and its not the only thing leaving difficult to kill spores. Kill the critters fine, but you leave their spores and they’re coming back. Which is probably how my mildew boards were doing.

But my bigger point is the potential for recontamination. The tightness of the crevices in question means that the water pressure from the machine can’t necessarily remove dirt and food. Their depth and narrowness means mechanic scrubbing can’t reach in there. And then water gets trapped in those same narrow places. The surface of a smooth board is pretty inhospitable to bacteria and can be cleaned well enough just with soapy water. The scarred board potentially has food and water trapped in it for extended periods of time, a great environment for things to grow. And things don’t magically stay sanitized or sterilized because you put them in the cabinet. Spillage, micro organisms in the air, anything living in that cabinet, spores that survived the dish washer. All that gets an ample opportunity to get up on that board after you clean it. Which is ample opportunity for gross to occur.

That’s why in situations where you practically need to control even slight contamination. Like brewing and pickling. You always clean and sanitize immediately before use. And simply clean after use.

Again not a huge practical concern in regular daily cooking. But you can avoid it. And the probably larger chance of mildew and mold. By sanding down the board. And idiot simple thing that takes less time that a single cycle in the dishwasher.

@ejeffrey

I’d been told a few times that something in the atomic structure of stainless. Something to do with the way electrons are lined up along the surface. Prevents bacteria from reproducing. Meaning bacterial contamination would stay, but couldn’t spread on the metal itself.

I done googled it. Turns out that’s bullshit. A mish mashed version of this:

Which is true of many metals. But definitely not stainless.