Are Wooden Cutting Boards Sanitary?
by Carl Smith, Deli & Cheese Buyer
On One Hand: Yes, They Are
According to the Reluctant Gourmet, wooden cutting boards are sanitary. Their porous surface actually draws bacteria into the body of the cutting board where it cannot replicate and dies. Unlike plastic cutting boards, wood cutting boards with heavy knife marks are still sanitary.
On the Other Hand: You Should Still Wash Them
The porous nature of a wooden cutting board is not an argument against thoroughly sanitizing it yourself. You still need to wash a wood cutting board after each use and between separate food items, especially if you are cutting raw meat. Wash the board in warm, soapy water, or put it in the dishwasher. Deeply sanitize it with unscented bleach. Also it is crucial to allow to dry completely allowing the enzymes in the wood to release and kill bacteria naturally.
Wooden cutting boards are not unsanitary because they are porous; in fact, the pores prevent the bacteria from replicating and they die, making the wood board sanitary. Plastic cutting boards do not have this advantage and become unusable if there are deep knife grooves. No matter what cutting board you use, wash it after each use, and deeply sanitize it regularly.