We know that but the research from Professor Dean Clive of the University of California found that “The Cellulose in wood absorbs the bacteria but will not release it. We’ve never been able to get the bacteria down in the wood back up on the knife to contaminate the food later.”
Professor Cliver’s notable discovery involved cutting boards. “Somewhere along the line wood got a bad name,” Professor Cliver said part of the blame, must go to the rubber industry which assailed the wood cutting boards in order to promote hard rubber and plastic. In recent years it has become conventional wisdom that the plastic cutting boards are safer than wood cutting boards. …
But in a study that Professor Cliver conducted, he found that cellulose in wood will absorb bacteria but will not release it.” We’ve never been able to get the bacteria down in the wood back up on the knife to contaminate the food later,” he said.
Plastic absorbs bacteria in a different way. “When the knife cuts into the plastic surface”, Dr. Cliver said. “the bacteria seems to get down in those knife cuts and they hang out. They go dormant. Drying will kill, say, 90 % of them but the rest could hang around for weeks.”
In one test he did, raw chicken juices were spread on samples of used wood and plastic cutting boards. Both boards were washed with hot soapy water and dried. Then knives were used to simulate cutting vegetables for a salad. No bacteria appeared on the knives cut on wood but there were plenty on the knives used on a plastic cutting board.
Professor Cliver found that running plastic boards through the dishwasher only spread the bacterial around. The bacteria in the cracks remained. …
Read his story:
1: (New York Times Jan 28, 2004 by Amanda Hesser)
Rodale Press, May 19, 2010