Have you ever looked around your kitchen and realized you have items you have no clue how to clean or maintain? You are not alone! But before you pick up the phone and call mom, here are some quick pointers on cutting board safety from NSF International expert and food equipment senior technical reviewer Kaylyn Brunskole, MPH, CHES.

  • First, look for the mark: The best way to make an educated decision on the products you purchase is to look for independent third-party certification. The NSF certification mark verifies that the product has met relevant quality and safety standards. To find an NSF certified cutting board, please visit NSF’s online listings.
    NSF certified cutting boards are designed to be easy to clean – free of cracks and crevices, and constructed of smooth materials. Materials must be nontoxic, must not contaminate foods and must comply with FDA guidelines.
    NSF certified wood cutting boards must come with detailed cleaning instructions consistent with FDA food code requirements.
  • Clean AND sanitize: It is important to both clean and sanitize the cutting board after each use according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use hot soapy water and a dishcloth to clean wood and plastic cutting boards. The mechanical action of using a dishcloth is important to help remove microbial contamination. To sanitize, soak the cutting board in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach to one gallon of water for one to three minutes. (Wooden cutting boards are not intended to be soaked long.) Then rinse with warm water and allow to air dry or pat dry with a paper towel.
    If using a dishwasher, check the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging or warping your cutting board.
  • Prevent cross-contamination: Take steps to prevent cross-contamination between ready-to-eat foods (such as salad, fruit and vegetables) and raw meat, poultry or seafood. A simple way to do this is to buy two different color, shape or size cutting boards. Also, be sure to use your cutting board as it was designed to be used. Cutting boards are not intended to be used as serving platters or trays, even if they have been cleaned and sanitized.
  • Get a new one: It’s okay to throw a cutting board away. Over time, cutting boards may accumulate deep grooves or cracks that make them harder to clean and sanitize, allowing bacteria to grow. If the cutting board appears to hold or trap moisture or bits of food, it is time to replace it.

For more information about cleaning tips and cutting board safety, contact our consumer information hotline at 1.800.673.8010 or email info@nsf.org.