Script: The Safe Use of Cutting Boards
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service
Food Safety at home podcast series. These podcasts were
designed with you in mind - the consumer - who purchases and
prepares meat, poultry and processed egg products for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging
from safe storage, handling, and preparation of meat, poultry and
processed egg products to the importance of keeping foods safe
during a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to ďFood Safety at Home.Ē This is Gertie Hurley with the Food Safety and
Inspection Service. Iím your host for this segment. With me today is Diane Van. Diane
is the manager of the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. Diane Van will tell us about the
importance of cutting boards to food safety in the home.
Itís good to see you, Diane.
Yes. Itís good to see you, too.
Diane, many people use cutting boards in the home when preparing food and
there are different types available. Which is safer - wooden or plastic cutting
Gertie, consumers may choose either wood or nonporous surface cutting boards such as
plastic, marble, glass, or pyroceramic. Nonporous surfaces are easier to clean than
Diane, you told me earlier about a neat way to keep track of the use of cutting boards
to avoid cross-contamination. Can you elaborate on that?
Yes. Some people color code their cutting boards for different uses. For instance, you
could use red cutting boards for a raw meat, a yellow cutting board for poultry, and a
green cutting board for vegetables. Whatever works to keep you and your family safe
and help cut down on cross-contamination.
So should I use one or two cutting boards?
Consider using one cutting board for fresh produce and bread, and a separate one for
raw meat, poultry, and seafood. This will prevent bacteria on a cutting board that is
used for raw meat, poultry, or seafood from contaminating a food that requires no
Is there a special way to clean my cutting boards?
To keep your cutting boards clean, the Hotline recommends washing them with hot, soapy
water after each use. Then rinse with clear water and air dry or pat dry with clean
paper towels. Nonporous acrylic, plastic, or glass boards and solid wood boards can be
washed in the dishwasher. However, laminated boards may crack and split.
Should I sanitize my cutting boards?
Yes. Gertie, after washing, you can add an additional step to be even more certain the
board is clean and safe. You may choose to sanitize the cutting board with a solution
of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Flood the
surface with the bleach solution and allow it to stand for several minutes. Rinse with
clear water and air or pat dry with clean paper towels.
Eventually my cutting boards will become worn. How can I tell when itís time to toss
out them out?
Even plastic boards will wear out over time. Once your cutting board becomes
excessively worn or develops hard-to-clean grooves, replace them. These grooves can
harbor harmful bacteria that even careful washing will not eliminate. So when you see
those grooves, itís probably time to purchase a new cutting board.
Where can our listeners get more information about cutting boards and food safety?
Listeners can visit the FSIS Web site at
www.fsis.usda.gov. That's www.fsis.usda.gov.
They may also want to call our toll-free USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at
1-888-MPHotline. Thatís 1-888-674-6854.
That's it for this week. Weíve been talking to Diane Van from the USDA Meat and
Thank you so much, Diane, for your helpful information on cutting boards. Iím Gertie
Hurley and Iíd like to thank you for joining us for this episode of ďFood Safety at
Home.Ē And remember, ďBe Food Safe.Ē
Well, thatís all for this time. Thanks for joining us today
for another episode of food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free
meat and poultry hotline at 1-888-mphotline. Thatís
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our
virtual representative "ask karen" at
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your
comments to email@example.com.
Thanks for tuning in.