Are Wooden or Plastic Cutting Boards Safer?
Question: Can you please help settle a disagreement I’ve been having with my daughter? She’s been trying to get me to replace my wooden cutting boards with plastic ones, insisting that the wooden versions hold more bacteria since they can’t be put in the dishwasher. I think the wooden ones must be fine, since I’ve been using them for years and no one has gotten sick. Which one of us is correct?
Dr. Wright: Research shows that wooden cutting boards actually do not sustain the growth of bacteria -- but the plastic versions do. In part, this research was stimulated by various health departments mandating the use of plastic cutting boards in commercial establishments. These mandates were based on the same assumption your daughter has made: that wood -- with all its cracks, crevices, and knife cuts -- would harbor microorganisms, and that seamless hard plastic -- with only superficial grooving from knives -- can be cleaned more easily and effectively.
But researchers found that microorganisms simply didn't survive on wooden cutting boards that were cleaned after use. And plastic cutting boards, even after similar cleaning, did, in fact, harbor bacteria with regularity.
About the author
Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. has degrees from both Harvard University (cum laude) and the University of Michigan. More than any other doctor, he practically invented the modern science of applied nutritional biochemistry and he has advanced nutritional medicine for nearly three decades.
As of today, Dr. Wright has received over 35,000 patient visits at his now-famous Tahoma Clinic in Washington State.
To learn more about Dr. Wright, and to sign up for his free Health e-Tips eLetter, please visit www.wrightnewsletter.com.