The potentials for removal of beef bacterial microflora from unscored polyethylene and hardwood cutting boards were compared. Ground beef was placed for 0 to 90 min onto cutting boards at room temperature and then removed; the surfaces were swabbed and the bacteria were enumerated. The boards were cleaned with various cleaning agents and then analyzed for bacterial removal. In addition, aqueous extracts from eight hardwoods were incubated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 for 0 to 30 h at 37°C to determine their inhibitory potential. Differences between the bacterial levels on wooden and plastic boards were not significant regardless of contact time. Washing with any cleaner, including water, removed most bacteria from either type of board. White ash extracts reduced E. coli O157:H7 levels to undetectable within 24 h; black cherry and red oak exhibited low inhibitory activity. Slight growth was observed in extracts from all other hardwoods, including hard maple, suggesting that aqueous extractable agents that are active against E. coli O157:H7 are not generally present in hardwoods. This study demonstrates the need to control cutting board sanitation regardless of composition.

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