The following information is provided
courtesy of The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association.
Understanding Chopping Boards
Wood is the
traditional material for chopping boards, but lost favour in the
1990s when it was thought to be unhygienic. Plastic chopping
boards became the recommended cutting surface. Current thinking
has changed to believe that properly washed and sanitised, wood
cube is a hygienic cutting surface.
Wood is the
kindest material to the cutting edge of a knife, being a natural
product that does not blunt the edge as quickly. Cleaning is
washing in hot soapy water and using a sanitising spray. Heavy
soil and scuff marks can be removed with a steel scraper.
be put in a dishwasher because of the porous nature of wood.
Prolonged exposure to water will cause the wood to expand, then
when it dries it will contract. Continual submersion in water
and drying will cause the wood to warp and split. It is water
that is the enemy of wooden cutting boards, not the detergents
used in the dishwasher.
wooden chopping boards in good condition they need to be
regularly scraped with a steel scraper and oiled. While there
are special wood oils available, any kitchen cooking oil will
waterproof the wood without the risk of contaminating food with
the smell of pine or linseed.
Plastic is the
most popular material for chopping boards. It is harsher on the
edge of a kitchen knife than wood, but has the advantage of
being able to be put through a dishwasher and is usually cheaper
chopping boards may be cheaper than thicker ones, but there is a
strong likelihood that the heat of a dishwasher will cause a
thin board to warp over time. This makes the board unstable to
work on and a personal safety hazard.
available in which to store cutting boards in an upright
position. This allows air to circulate around the board and aid
Colour coding in
chopping boards is a way of reducing the risk of cross
contamination and is widely practised. There are no legal
guidelines on which foods should be cut on which colour boards,
but the accepted coding system in the UK is this:
– Cooked meats
– Bread and dairy products such as cheese
Salad and fruit
– Raw vegetables, definitely those grown within the soil.
colour system can be helped with laminated instruction sheets
which show kitchen employees both in words and with pictures
what food products should be cut on which coloured board.
Suppliers of colour-coded cutting boards may offer these
information sheets free.
coding is a first defence line for good food hygiene, it is
still good practice for a board to be washed in hot water and
sanitised when a different food product of a similar type is
being cut up on it. This is very important with raw meat
products, since chicken needs thorough cooking, but beef steaks
cut on the same chopping board might be cooked rare.
colour-coded boards are a help in food safety, white is the best
colour for visually spotting food debris. It is possible to get
white plastic chopping boards which have the colour coding on
the edge of the board. For very food safety sensitive kitchens,
knives are available with the same plastic colour coding in the