How ever much or little you prepare food in your own home, you are always going to be using cutting boards. And these cutting boards do need some TLC to keep them looking good and especially to keep them clean and hygienic for you and your family.
Here are our top tips
1. Always use a clean cutting board for food preparation. And make sure after use, and before you move on to the next step in your food preparation, that you clean your cutting board in in hot soapy water before rinsing with water and leaving to air dry. Whether it's wood or plastic, cutting boards should not go in the dishwasher, where they have prolonged exposure to heat and water, which can cause warping and cracking.
2. However, with enough hand-washing, wood cutting boards can begin to dry out. Oil them with a food-safe mineral oil or beeswax. Both will help prevent water absorption.
3. If you have glass, marble or Corian boards, be aware that these are really just decorative rather than for cutting on because they will dull your knives very quickly and also be slippery to use.
4. Bamboo is much harder than wood so a bamboo cutting board will dull your knife faster. If you prefer bamboo over wood for environmental reasons, invest in a knife steel for quick at-home sharpening.
5. Use at least three different cutting boards: one strictly to cut raw meat, poultry and seafood; a second one for breads; while the third can be for fruits and vegetables. Don't confuse them. When juices from raw meats or germs from unclean objects accidentally touch cooked or ready-to-eat foods (such as fruits or salads), cross-contamination occurs. If not cleaned correctly, the board can hide harmful bacteria. The easiest and safest way is to have a different color for each board. For example, a red plastic cutting board for raw meats and a green one for vegetables. If you prefer wood cutting boards, you could color code with a small piece of electric tape.
6. After cleaning your cutting board for raw meat, poultry or seafood, disinfect with a safe, eco friendly sanitizing solution before rinsing with clean water.
7. Don't be tempted to hang on to old cutting boards that are long past their "sell by" date. They all wear out eventually so you should discard those that have become excessively worn with cracks, crevices and knife scars or have hard-to-clean grooves. These grooves can hold harmful bacteria that even careful washing or disinfecting will not eliminate.
8. Always give yourself plenty of space when chopping food for comfort and safety. To make sure your cutting board is large enough, place your knife diagonally across the board. If the length of the knife is longer than the cutting board, then you need a larger one. The cutting board's surface area should be at least a couple of inches larger than the knife.
Color coded signage
There is even a special sign that you can use to show you how to color code your cutting boards to prevent any cross contamination. This would be especially useful for hotel, restaurant and other kitchens that cater for the general public.