Whether you use plastic or wood, the most important safety measure is to clean either surface thoroughly. Always wash cutting boards in hot, soapy water or place them in the dishwasher. Solid hardwood cutting boards are safe to run in the dishwasher; wood laminates must be washed by hand.
After washing, sanitize your cutting board with a solution of one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of water. Discard or recycle cutting boards of any type when they become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves.
The Partnership for Food Safety Education recommends consumers use one cutting board for fresh produce and ready-to-eat foods and a different cutting board for raw meat, poultry, and seafood to prevent any cross-contamination. The best ways to reduce your risk of foodborne illness are to clean, separate, cook, and chill. For more ways to lower your chances of food poisoning, go to fightbac.org.
-Shelley Feist, executive director of the Partnership for Food Safety Education, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., that runs the Fight BAC! safe food-handling campaign
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