I made steak last night, and my girlfriend just chopped up some broccoli on the cutting board I used to prepare the meat, without washing it. She plans to cook the broccoli in the oven, which she said will cook off any bacteria that would have been transferred from the cutting board, but I'm really worried about cross contamination since it was 80 something degrees today and that cutting board had a fair amount of dried blood on it...

Should I eat the veggies tonight? I always err on the side of caution and think I'd rather mildly offend her by not eating that part of the meal than risk getting sick.


Your girlfriend is right (lucky you). As long as food is going to be cooked thoroughly after coming into contact with the blood on the cutting board there is no risk as the heat of the oven will kill off any microbes that can cause foodborne illness.

The concern would be cross contamination of food that will not be cooked, for instance salads, breads, etc. This is why good professional kitchens are strict about washing boards after being used - in a busy kitchen it would be easy for mistakes to be made. In a home kitchen when there's good communication or just one person cooking you have much less chance of that happening. However, it would be all too easy to forget and crunch down on a piece of raw broccoli or for a small child to get exposed by raiding the uncooked vegetables, which is why it's good practice to wash boards after cutting meat even in a home kitchen.

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    "Good professional kitchens" have specific cutting boards (often color coded) that are ONLY used for meat...or for produce. – moscafj May 22 '19 at 23:38
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    It's important to stress "thoroughly", as you should cook the meat-contaminated item to the safe temperature for the meat. – Joe May 23 '19 at 13:54
  • Worth correcting "blood" to myoglobin here. Veg is cross-contaminated with raw meats, but in a way that is very unlikely to result in pathogen growth. Likely safe. – Bruce Alderson Jun 11 '19 at 0:20

Well, I think it’s absolutely fine to eat that broccoli today, cuz there probably wasn’t any pathogenic bacteria formed over short period of time between you used the board and then she did. If this chopping board was washed well beforehand (and your kitchen is not a total mess :) it should be fine.

Plus she cooked in an oven which probably was heated up over 220°C, which is enough to even do a sort of autoclaving (sterilization) of broccoli and for sure kill any germs.

So, you probably should go and enjoy your dinner)

  • 24hrs is approximately 6 times longer than the prescribed 4hr window that pathogens are given before they can be dangerous. – AGirlHasNoName May 23 '19 at 3:20

Without getting too technical, you did the right thing by not eating it. There are many factors that dictate wether a harmful pathogen got enough time, temperature, and moisture to grow on that cutting board to get to the veggies and make you sick. I'm trained on food safety, and for example in a restaurant that's a BiG no-no, and you are suppose to wash and sanitize the cutting board, tools and surface, when switching tasks, and specially between any raw peotein and vegetables. However, my family back home would totally do something like tgat, and probably not get sick, it all depends of how strong your gut is. I wouldn't feed those veggies to anyone myself

  • this is conflating several safety standards and rationales. Cross contamination and Time & Temperature are separate concerns – AGirlHasNoName May 27 '19 at 20:19

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