You can wash your hands, food or cooking utensils as much as you like - but if you aren't cleaning your chopping boards properly you could be leaving yourself (and your family or guests) wide open to potentially harmful bacteria.
Did you know, for example, that the average chopping board harbours more faecal bacteria than a toilet seat? Or that about 40% of cases of food poisoning occur in the home?
“When chopping boards are left for hours without being hygienically cleaned, bacteria can build up and be hard to remove – especially from old chopping boards, which have developed deep cuts and scoring," says Lisa Ackerley, food hygiene expert and Global Hygiene Council representative.
"Bacteria such as Campylobacter and Salmonella, found on raw meats and poultry, may contaminate ready-to-eat foods via chopping boards. Although ideally it is good practice to have separate boards for raw and ready-to-eat foods, in a busy household this may not be manageable.
"Therefore, make sure that any board used for raw meat, poultry, fish or vegetables is immediately cleaned and disinfected using the dishwasher or an anti-bacterial product such as Dettol Anti-bacterial Cleansing Surface Wipes.”
Here are a few gut-wrenching hygiene facts from the NHS:
- Chopping boards have been found to harbour around 200% more faecal bacteria than the average toilet seat.
- 89% of kitchen cleaning cloths and towels, which come into contact with surfaces such as chopping boards, have been found to have unsatisfactory levels of contamination.
- Since more than 50% of raw chicken has been found to be contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria, which is the most common cause of food poisoning in Britain (more than Salmonella), your chopping board could become contaminated.
- E.coli, found on raw meats, poultry and unwashed salads and vegetables, can spread via chopping boards that have not been thoroughly disinfected.