Using the Same Cutting Board for Raw Chicken and Raw Beef

So, you love wowing your family and friends with your scrumptious chicken or beef masterpieces. Unfortunately, E. coli, salmonella and other microbes love to thrive on these meat products, too. And they can easily spread from raw or undercooked chicken and beef to other ingredients via your cutting board.

Using different cutting boards for raw meat and fruits and vegetables is a smart and health-promoting move. But you might be wondering if you also have to use different cutting boards for raw chicken and raw beef.

The same cutting board can be used for raw chicken and raw beef. Cross-contamination isn’t a big issue since both chicken and beef will be cooked anyway, which will kill microbes. However, the same cutting board should not be used for ingredients that will not be cooked, like fruits and vegetables.

Before you prepare raw chicken or raw beef, keep reading.

We will talk about using cutting boards properly, especially when ingredients that could be contaminated with bacteria are involved.

By the end of this article, you will become a pro in using cutting boards the right way, thus keeping you and the ones you care about from ending up with food poisoning after enjoying a mouthwatering dish.

Cutting board and raw chicken

How Many Cutting Boards Should You Have?

When it comes to safe and healthy food preparation, there should be at least two cutting boards around. One is for raw chicken, beef and other meat products. The other is for fruit and vegetables and other ingredients that can be eaten without cooking or exposing them to high temperatures beforehand.

There are many ingredients to slice, chop, dice and mince. Alas, you can only own as many cutting boards.

If money or kitchen space is an issue, consider having at least two cutting boards handy. One is exclusive for raw meat.

Another is especially for fruits and vegetables or other ingredients that can be consumed without cooking them beforehand. This is to avoid bacteria in raw meat from contaminating the rest.

Related Article: Does Freezing Kill Salmonella?

When shopping for two different cutting boards, you have a couple of options: wood and plastic. Each type of cutting board comes with its own pros and cons…

Wooden cutting board

Many seasoned and occasional chefs love wooden cutting boards because they are durable. They also keep knives sharp longer. However, they are porous, which makes it easy for bacteria to grow and multiply on them. Wooden cutting boards also dry at a slower pace, which can contribute to microbial growth.

Plastic cutting board

A lot of people prefer plastic cutting boards because they are easier to clean and sanitize than their wooden counterparts. They can also come in so many different shapes, sizes and colors. However, they can dull knives easily. Plastic cutting boards are also prone to having grooves, which can harbor bacteria.

Willing to own multiple cutting boards for different purposes? There’s a wonderful suggestion for that. Have the budget or space for only one cutting board? There’s a workaround.

And this is why you should continue reading to become a cutting board expert!

Using Color-Coded Cutting Boards at Home

If preventing cross-contamination and food poisoning is top priority, having color-coded cutting boards in the kitchen is a good idea. This is especially true if different members of the family are involved with cooking. However, it’s a must to use every cutting board for the right purpose each time.

Most restaurant kitchens have several cutting boards, each one having a different color.

They are called color-coded cutting boards. In most instances, they are beneficial in professional kitchens where several different chefs have to handle food products.

By using a specific cutting board for a particular ingredient, the risk of customers ending up with food poisoning can be considerably lowered.

You don’t have to be a seasoned chef just to get your hands on color-coded cutting boards. No matter your culinary skills, using these colorful kitchen essentials is recommended if cross-contamination is a complete no-no.

Here are the different colors of color-coded cutting boards and the meaning of each:

  • Red – raw meat
  • Yellow – raw poultry
  • Brown – raw fish and seafood
  • Blue – cooked food
  • Green – fruits and vegetables
  • White – dairy products

It’s true that having color-coded cutting boards is a great way to prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen.

However, there are also some cons to using them:

  • Getting all of them costs more than buying one cutting board.
  • Having multiple cutting boards means less available space.
  • Requires remembering which cutting board to use for which food item.

How Should You Clean and Store Cutting Boards?

Cutting boards can be kept clean and free of germs by scrubbing them with a sponge and hot soapy water. They can also be sanitized by cleaning them with a teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach diluted with a gallon of water. Diluted white vinegar may be used, too, but only for light cleaning purposes.

As established earlier, it’s a good idea to have at least a couple of cutting boards around.

But just because you have only one cutting board available doesn’t mean that you should quit making culinary masterpieces or compromise your health or that of your family and friends.

Regardless of how many cutting boards you have, it’s of utmost importance that you clean them after each use. Cleaning is also important before proceeding with the next food preparation step that involves cutting ingredients. This is particularly true if you only have a single cutting board around.

Cutting board and beef

The following are the steps on how to clean a cutting board with dish soap:

  1. Rinse the cutting board with hot water.
  2. Apply dish soap — regular or antibacterial — to the cutting board.
  3. Scrub the cutting board using a sponge.
  4. Rinse the cutting board with hot water.
  5. Hang the cutting board or allow it to lean on the wall to air dry.

And now, here are the steps on how to clean a cutting board with liquid bleach:

  1. Mix one teaspoon of liquid bleach (unscented) and one gallon of water.
  2. Apply the mixture to the cutting board using a sponge.
  3. Still using the sponge, scrub away food particles and stain.
  4. Allow the mixture to stay on the cutting board for one to two minutes.
  5. Rinse the cutting board with hot water.
  6. Hang the cutting board or allow it to lean on the wall to air dry.

When air drying your cutting board, make sure that it’s vertically or diagonally positioned, such as by hanging it, placing it on a rack or leaning it against the wall. This is to keep water from pooling on the surface, which can keep your cutting board from drying properly and cause it to harbor microbes.

By the way, you can also use diluted white vinegar (one part white vinegar to four parts water) for cleaning a cutting board. However, it’s not as good as dealing with germs as dish soap and diluted bleach.

Related Article: What Is Chicken Tartare?

Needless to say, use vinegar for light cleaning cutting boards or eliminating stubborn stains or odors.

Just one quick tip on washing cutting boards before we proceed to the next topic: always wash both sides of a cutting board even if you used only one side.

Especially if your cutting board is out of wood, washing both sides after use can help prevent uneven drying, thus keeping your important kitchen utensil from warping or cracking. And, again, store it upright or diagonally to make sure it dries properly before you put it into commission all over again.

Just Before You Cut and Slice Raw Meat

Having color-coded cutting boards is always an option. But if saving money and kitchen space is top priority, you can have just two cutting boards — one for raw meat products and the other for ingredients that require no or little cooking.

But you can also stick to one, although you should sanitize it in between uses.

Related Questions

How often should you replace cutting boards?

It’s recommended to replace cutting boards at least once a year. In some instances, cutting boards have to be replaced three to four times a year if they are used very often. As a general rule of thumb, you should replace cutting boards if they have a lot of grooves or are already warped.

Can you place cutting boards in the refrigerator?

Cutting boards can be placed in the refrigerator. They can create additional surfaces when placed on top items with the same height. However, cutting boards out of wood may quickly crack or warp due to the constant changes in temperature when taking them in and out of the fridge.

Read Also: Can You Eat Tuna Steak Raw?

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