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wood vs plasticNovember 21, 2014
Wood vs Plastic Cutting Boards - New German Study Reinforces Dr. Cliver's Report: Wood cutting boards inhibit bacteria growth, and are equal to or better than plastic cutting boards.

Just recently, Dr. Ulrike Kleiner, from the Laboratory of Hygiene Research at the Anhalt University in Bernburg, Germany, performed a new study on hygienic qualities of wood and plastic cutting boards. Dr. Kleiner’s results reinforced Dr. Dean Cliver’s study: that hard rock maple wood cutting boards are more sanitary than plastic cutting boards. It has been scientifically proven that wood cutting boards inhibit bacteria growth, while plastic cutting boards have been proven to harbor bacteria. Furthermore, wood cutting boards are known to be easier on your knives and they are sustainable and biodegradable, where plastic cutting boards are not. Read a summary of the German study below or read the full German study by Dr. Ulrike Kleiner here as well as Dr. Dean Cliver's study here.


New German study reinforces Dr. Cliver’s report: Wood cutting boards inhibit bacteria growth, and are equal to or better than plastic cutting boards.

Food safety is a universal concern whether it involves the commercial foodservice industry or the confines of our own home. As many as 1 in 6 Americans get sick by consuming contaminated foods resulting from Salmonella, E-Coli, and Botulism. These foodborne illnesses are common, costly, yet are preventable and can be dramatically decreased by practicing smart food prep habits in your kitchen.

For years, the use of plastic cutting boards was recommended over wood cutting boards, by public health authorities. However, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture said they had no scientific evidence to support their recommendation that plastic, rather than wooden cutting boards were safer to use. So, in response to this, Dean O. Cliver, Ph.D, (USA) had conducted a scientific study. The findings in fact proved that knife-scarred plastic surfaces were more difficult to clean and disinfect, as a result of significant damage to the plastic surfaces due to knife cuts. Furthermore, it has been proven that hard maple cutting boardsinhibit bacteria growth. As a result of the study, a new scientific conclusion had been uncovered despite what others thought before this test: More bacteria are recovered from a used plastic surface than from a used wood surface. Wood cutting boards are known to be easier on your expensive knife blades and they are sustainable and biodegradable, where plastic cutting boards are not.
wood vs plastic surfaces close up
Dr. Kleiner’s New Study Just recently, Dr. Ulrike Kleiner, from the Laboratory of Hygiene Research at the Anhalt University in Bernburg, Germany, performed a new study on hygienic qualities of wood and plastic cutting boards. Dr. Kleiner’s results reinforced Dr. Dean Cliver’s study: that hard rock maple wood cutting boards are more sanitary than plastic cutting boards. The details are listed below.

Testing NSF-certified hardwood cutting boards manufactured by John Boos & Co., of Effingham IL, USA, were used in the testing. These professional butcher block cutting boards used in the testing were made of North American Hard Rock Maple. For the plastic cutting boards, a professional German product was used: the “Profi-Schneidbrett PE 500: by “cookmax” Pentagast.

Conclusion The experiments show that among the cutting boards on which meat was cut, the unoiled wood board exhibited the least amount of residual waste and residual germs. The oiled wood board came close to this result in second place, and the worst results with regards to hygiene came from the plastic cutting board. For the two variants of cutting boards on which lettuce had been cut, the oiled wooden board and the plastic board, we could detect an almost comparable residual waste and residual bacterial presence. Finally, our results can be evaluated as the following: with proper care and cleaning, high quality hardwood maple cutting boards that are certified do not pose a greater health risk and are equal to or better than plastic ones. In addition, because of its sustainability, the use of wood in cutting boards is also recommended.

 

Prof. Dr. med. Habil Ulrike Kleiner
Anhalt University, Bernburg
Department of Agriculture, Nutritional Sciences, Landscape Development
Strenstelder Alee 28
06406 Bernburg/Germany
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