Can You Use the Same Cutting Board for Meats and Vegetables?

Most of us have grown up being told not to use the same cutting board to chop vegetables on as we did to cut meats for the same meal, but do we really need to use a different cutting board, or at least wash the first? The answer is yes. 

Cutting raw meats on a cutting board will leave various forms of bacteria on the cutting board which can be transmitted to the vegetables cut on the same board. The different bacteria in raw meat and vegetables become cross-contaminated and stay with ready-to-eat produce to cause food poisoning.

Knowing this, what should you do to know you’ve cleaned your chopping board well enough? Do you need two chopping boards? What are the best cutting boards to use? The answers to these questions all lie in the article below, so keep reading.

How To Clean A Chopping Board Between Foods

So how can you clean a chopping board so that you know for sure that it’s clean, sanitized, and safe to use for the next food on the chopping block?

One question we should ask is if the cleaning method varies for cutting boards made with different materials. Does the same method work for wood, composite, plastic, and bamboo? 

Not entirely, especially between plastic and wood, what would work with inorganic plastic can damage the wood. However, for removing meat residue, the method below should work for all of them.

  1. Gather together the following. Measurements don’t matter except with the bleach
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Chlorine bleach
  1. Combine the lemon juice and salt and use the mixture to scrub all over the face of the board.
  2. Rinse with cold water
  3. Combine 1 quart of water with 2 teaspoons of bleach
  4. Rub your solution into the board. You don’t have to scrub.
  5. Rinse off with hot, soapy water.

You want the coarseness of the salt and the acid of the lemon juice to penetrate into the wood and absorb any extra juices. The cold water will just deactivate the acid from the lemon juice and rinse everything off. The bleach will sanitize the board and kill the meat bacteria pretty thoroughly. Finally, the soapy hot water removes the bleach, which you also don’t want on your food.

If you need more reassurance, white vinegar or 3% hydrogen peroxide applied with a clean cloth are good ways to further sanitize the board after cleaning.

Does This Mean You Need More Than One Chopping Board?

So long as you are willing to put in the little extra effort of cleaning your chopping board properly, you don’t really need to have more than one board.

Besides, you can always cut the produce first and then move on to the meat. However, having designated boards for meat and vegetables will erase any doubt or questions about whether the board you want to use is clean enough for fruits and vegetables. 

This can be especially concerning if your cutting board is made with a porous material that hasn’t been sealed and can keep meat juices within. This brings us to the last question: what are the best cutting boards for meats and produce?

Best Chopping Board For Meats

The best chopping boards for meats should have deep troughs all around the board to catch all the juices, it should be sealed to prevent bacteria from hanging around on the board, and it should be easy to sanitize. 

For these reasons, plastic chopping boards with deep wells like the Gorilla Grip set of 3 are what you’re looking for.

Best Chopping Board For Vegetables

Produce doesn’t have the needs and risks that raw meat does, but they do have a lot of juice and water.

Plastic could work again, but plastic isn’t always food-grade safe and can damage knives because of its uneven surface. For vegetables and other produce, why not choose bamboo?

Bamboo comes in a number of finishes that seal the bamboo to protect it from moisture, is guaranteed food-safe, has the advantage of being highly sustainable, and are usually knife-friendly too because they have nice, smooth finishes.

Bamboo boards like the Hiware Extra Large Bamboo Cutting Board have all of these desired features and come with juice grooves for all that juice and water. This particular board also has inner handles for easy pick up and comes pre-oiled to prevent splitting.