German University Compared Hygienic Qualities and Found Wooden Boards to Be More Sanitary.
For years, plastic was favored over wood as a surface on which to prepare food, based on the fallacious presumption that germs could easily penetrate wood, which is porous and susceptible to knife scarring, and could be difficult to eliminate. But that presumption was turned on its head in 1993 when University of Wisconsin food microbiologists Dean Cliver and Nese Ak released findings of their study: “that wooden cutting boards kill bacteria that survive well on plastic boards.” (source: http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/docliver/Research/cuttingboard.htm)
Cliver and Ak contaminated wood (7 different species) and plastic (4 different types) boards with Salmonella, Listeria and E coli bacteria – all known to produce food poisoning. Overnight the boards were exposed to cold or room-temperatures and normal or high humidity. According to Cliver, results consistently favored wood over plastic by a wide margin.
A separate, more recent study conducted by Dr. Ulrike Kleiner at the Laboratory of Hygiene Research at the Anhalt University in Bernburg, Germany compared NSF-certified John Boos hardwood maple cutting boards with professional-grade, plastic cutting boards made in Germany. Kleiner reached a similar conclusion:
“With proper care and cleaning, high-quality hardwood maple cutting boards that are certified do not pose a greater health risk and are equal to or better than plastic ones.”
Kleiner used test boards for cutting either chicken breast or lettuce, then manually cleaned (using dish soap, a scouring pad and warm, running water) and dried (using paper towels) the boards. He measured residual food waste and residual germ presence after each daily cleaning for 4 weeks. At the end of the test, Kleiner observed little difference between the John Boos wood and German plastic boards used for cutting lettuce; whereas he recorded a marked difference between the boards on which chicken was cut. The oiled, wood Boos board was far superior. Still, he noted that food waste and germs built up over time, even on the oiled wooden boards, reinforcing the need for regular, thorough cleaning and drying.
About Butcher Block Co. – BBC is an online seller of butcher block cutting boards, countertops, tables, carts and islands. The company is a leading distributor residential and commercial kitchen products made by John Boos & Co.