Your chopping board may have 200 times more bacteria than a toilet seat

The secret ingredient is..

Some say the kitchen is the heart of the home. Little did we know it harbours the cause of food poisoning that can wipe out a generation.

Of all the household items that come to mind, the humble kitchen chopping board may seem the most unassuming. However, research has found that it provides a real estate for bacteria with a whopping average bacteria count of 24,250 per square cm.

That’s about 200 times more than your average toilet seat.

This bacterial count can give you anything in between a slight tummy upset to full-blown explosive diarrhoea.

What’s on the menu

Photo: The Sun

Salmonella, E-coli and Campylobacter can deliver a vast array of nasties— vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

Raw meat, especially chicken, and vegetables can harbour these germs. Campylobacter bacteria in particular, like raw chicken. If you’ve cut up a raw chicken, chances are you’ve got it on your board.

Dr Lisa Ackerly of the Global Hygiene Council told the Daily Mail, you can easily transfer bacteria onto other surfaces such as doors, hand towels and countertops where they’ll multiply quickly.

Apparently, you won’t need a lot to feel its presence— they’re very infectious.

‘As few as 500 Campylobacter bacteria or just 10 E.coli organisms can cause food poisoning. You would need to have millions of E.coli in one place before you could see them.’

—Dr Lisa Ackerley, food hygiene expert and Global Hygiene Council representative

Oh, and she added that the reason your kitchen rag or tea towel stinks is probably that it’s infested with bacteria already. Simply wonderful.

But, it’s washed

Shockingly, washing it does not protect you from the germs. Plain old soap and water will not kill the bacteria.

Disease-causing bacteria can still lurk just beneath the surfaces.

If you haven’t changed your chopping board within the last 5 years or so, chances are that the groves and cuts on your board are trapping more bacteria. This makes it more difficult to effectively clean the board.

Also, what you have heard of germs dying from exposure may not be true. They survive just fine outdoors.

For instance, staphylococcus bacteria (of the famed Methicilin- resistance family), can survive up to 48 hours on plastic surfaces at room temperature — sounds like a perfect sunny Singaporean day.

E.coli can survive up to weeks in the crevices of your chopping board.

So what can you do to rid your home of these pesky guests? According to Dr Lisa, follow these simple rules:

  1. Use a disinfectant, like bleach or anti-bacterial wipes to wipe down your board regularly. Do NOT rely on dishwashing soap and water —oops, guilty.
  2. Use a separate board for raw and ready to eat foods.
  3. Replace the board if it starts to look worse for wear.


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