Food safety: Safely prepping produce on your cutting board
Using a clean cutting board and following these guidelines ensures that the transfer of bacteria does not occur from board to food.
A useful tool in any kitchen is a clean cutting board. Michigan State University Extension recommends that in order to ensure that the transfer of bacteria does not occur from board to food, follow these four guidelines:
- Use a separate cutting board for fresh produce and ready to eat foods. This will control the spread of bacteria and prevent cross contamination. Use another separate board for raw meats and poultry.
- To clean the cutting board, wash it in hot soapy water, rinse and air dry, or wash in a dish washer. Nonporous acrylic, plastic or glass boards and solid wood boards can be washed in a dishwasher (laminated boards may crack and split).
- To sanitize the cutting board, submerge the board in a gallon of water treated with one tablespoon of chlorine bleach, then air dry.
- All plastic and wood cutting boards wear out over time. Once cutting boards become extremely worn or develop hard to clean grooves, they should be discarded.
Now that the cutting boards are ready for use, let’s remember these tips about fresh produce. It is recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that you:
- Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing and/or eating. Produce that looks rotten should be discarded.
- Wash all produce thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting or cooking. This includes produce grown conventionally or organically at home, or purchased from a grocery store or farmer’s market. Washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or using commercial produce washes is not recommended.
- Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetables.
- Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers with a clean produce brush.
- Dry produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.
- Remember to store any cut fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator within two hours.
Following these food safety practices will safeguard you and your family from harmful foodborne and surface bacteria. This will allow you to enjoy safe produce free from any bacteria and help you eat enough fruits and veggies every day.