Audit Your Cutting Boards

It may be time to say goodbye to your cutting board. If your board is old or just worn out, it may be harboring harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. Coli. In fact, cutting boards can be one of the germiest places in your entire house! So grab your cutting board (or boards) and ask yourself the following questions.
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1. Are there deep cracks or cuts in the board? Knife marks are okay – every cutting board will show at least some surface-level marks from knives. But if you can see deep grooves, pits, chips and cuts on your board, it’s time for a replacement. Do this especially if a crack goes all the way through to the other side of the board. This space creates an excellent hiding place for germs and bacteria.
2. Is there discoloration? Replace your cutting board if you notice any discoloration that doesn’t fade after you wash the board or run it through the dishwasher. If the discoloration is black or dark in color, it’s likely mold or mildew and will be incredibly difficult to remove.
3. Do you see heavy scoring? Over time, the act of a knife repeatedly hitting the cutting board with score the surface, making it harder to clean. A cutting board should be replaced when its surface is deeply scored, meaning there are so many knife marks that the surface of the board is significantly altered. This is especially common with plastic cutting boards. You can tell if your board is heavily scored by its appearance and by touch. The scored area may show some discoloration, too.
4. Have any seams started to separate? This is common for bamboo and wood cutting boards: If you notice the seams of the wood have started to separate, it’s time to replace the board! The separation will usually begin along the edges of the board and form large, noticeable cracks. This is an attractive spot for Salmonella and E. Coli bacteria to hide.
5. Is the board distorted or warped? If you notice the board has become warped or distorted in shape, it’s a good idea to buy a new board – it’s harder to clean and it’s unsafe. A warped cutting board will create an unstable cutting surface.

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