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I've heard that using a wooden chopping board for cutting meat is not very hygienic as it is a porous material. If that is the case, then what would a chopping board ideally be made out of when chopping meat?

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up vote 23 down vote accepted

In fact it's the porous nature of wood that make then ideal for preparing meat. There was a test done a while ago, which showed the bacteria are drawn into the wood and no longer replicate, in fact they die relatively quickly.

Personally, I can't stand plastic boards, they're hell on good knives and although they're non-porous they do stain. It always makes me feel like reaching for the bleach to remove what might be left...

Besides, have you ever seen a plastic butchers block? Get a good quality hickory or maple board and you're set.

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Interesting stuff. I've got a really good maple board and have always been hesitant to cut meat (especially chicken) on it so I always go for the plastic board, but I hate it because as you said, they stain. –  lomaxx Jul 11 '10 at 13:20
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Any chance you have a link to that test? I have always heard (from knowledgeable sources) that wood cutting boards and meat don't mix. –  user73 Jul 11 '10 at 14:18
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I believe the original link I read is from this site faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/docliver/Research/… It's also linked to from here reluctantgourmet.com/cutting_board.htm –  Pulse Jul 11 '10 at 16:09
    
Any thoughts on using a bamboo cutting board for meat? –  Jonathon Watney Jul 17 '10 at 23:23
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I've had a number of bamboo cutting boards, and I don't really like them. They're typically lacquered, if not, they can be quite porous. I'd go for a nice maple cutting board if you can afford it. –  Peter V Jul 22 '10 at 0:48
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I think this is the report previously referred to. Which indicates that the surface of the wood is anti-bacterial. After applying bacteria to it it has disappeared in a very short amount of time. Also as previously mentioned the bacteria migrate the middle of the board, which is why you should never use a split board or stab the board to get a knife to stand upright.

An endgrain board will also work very well, as you cut the marks left will be in to the fibres of the board which when washed will swell and reseal the board leaving less surface area for bacteria. No such process exists on plastic boards, every cut increases the surface area for bacteria and often in hard to wash places.

Bamboo is very hard and not so kind on knives.

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