Should You Use a Wood or Plastic Cutting Board?
What you need to know about the food safety properties of both
Wood vs. plastic cutting boards: Which one to use is a quandary for many people, especially as we approach the holidays and spend more time in the kitchen. Food safety experts used to warn against using wood cutting boards, saying they were more likely to harbor bacteria that can cause foodborne illness, like E. coli or salmonella, than plastic cutting boards. But while both types have their pros and cons, research shows that either wood cutting boards or plastic cutting boards can be safe if you follow some simple steps.
Use at least two. “Have one cutting board for raw meat, fish, and poultry,” says Sana Mujahid, PhD, manager of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports. “Have a separate cutting board for ready-to-eat items such as bread, fruits, and vegetables.” This helps prevent cross-contamination—for example, you don’t run the risk of transferring salmonella or another type of bacteria from chicken to your veggies if you cut them on different surfaces.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article appeared in the June 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.