Why I Use Wooden Cutting Boards

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Hands down, my cutting board is the surface that gets the most action in my kitchen. There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not chopping cucumbers, mincing garlic or slicing up some fresh fruit! With so much use it’s no wonder most of us worry about how clean our cutting boards are.

Recently I have noticed that manufacturers are cashing in on this food safety concern by producing anti-bacterial cutting boards. The most common anti-bacterial agent used in synthetic anti-bacterial cutting boards is called triclosan.

Triclosan is a commonly used antimicrobial and preservative found in more than 1500 Canadian products. Triclosan goes by many names including Biofresh, Irgasaon, Microban Lexol-300, Ster-Zac and Cloxifenolum and is used in everything from cosmetics to carpets. Triclosan has been demonstrated to have serious human health and environmental implications.[1]

Here are 3 few reasons why I do not recommend the purchase or use of cutting boards that contain triclosan:

1-Triclosan is bad for both people and the environment. Human health concerns include hormone disruption (specifically thyroid hormone), impairment of neurological function, and a potential contributor to breast cancer. When it comes to the environment Triclosan is equally as harmful. Triclosan washes into our water systems and pollutes our water and soil. It is toxic to algae, earth worms and marine organisms. It also takes a long time to biodegrade meaning that it hangs around for a long time in both our homes and our environment.[2] Now I don’t know about you but this sounds like an chemical I don’t exactly want in my kitchen let alone in my house!

2-Triclosan may not actually keep your cutting boards bacteria free. One study, published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology, tested the survival and growth of bacteria on two cutting boards; one that contained triclosan and one that did not. The study concluded that triclosan containing cutting boards were only effective in low humidity with long exposure times. Additionally, repeated washing of the board lowered its anti-bacterial effect.[3]

I can’t even imagine how long it takes for a plastic cutting board to decompose in a landfill. Yuck. All in all, there is nothing like a stack of clean wooden cutting boards to make my thoughts turn to cooking. So for this cook, wood is where its at!

Disinfecting a wooden cutting board can be cheap and easy! There are so many recipes for home-made disinfectants that you can throw together using a few simple ingredients:

  • For a quick clean sprinkle 1 tbsp each of baking soda and salt. Use ½ lemon to scrub the baking soda and salt thoroughly into the board. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing and drying. Your cutting board will look nicer and smell better.
  • For a deeper clean that will also disinfect try one of the following. Thoroughly spray your board with white vinegar and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing and drying. Alternatively, mix equal parts vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide. Spray your cutting board thoroughly and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing and drying.

[1] Paglaro, Tovah. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/queen-of-green/2013/10/11-ways-to-dodge-dreaded-triclosan/

[2] Beyond Pesticides. http://www.beyondpesticides.org/antibacterial/triclosan-research-3-09.pdf

[3] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168160511000961

A few of my favourite boards
A few of my favourite boards

Categories: Cooking ToolsTags: , , , , ,

juliadavie

I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Registered Yoga Teacher practicing in the Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec region. I am passionate about nutritious food, holistic health, and inspired living!