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Cutting board has slits... is this a problem?


Hi, I recently bought a wooden cutting board in a local market in Thailand. The board is basically a round slice of a tree. Once I got home and unpacked it I realised that the wood has dozens of small radial slits. The market was not touristic at all so I believe they actually use them like this, the lady who sold it to me said it could last 10 years. But I wonder... inevitably food will lodge there and that's a health concern. Now I've just coated it with coconut oil but that's not enough to seal the slits.

I like the board.

So my question is: should this be a concern? And if so, is there any way to solve it (even though it's now seasoned with oil)?

Thanks, Nuno

asked by nununo about 3 years ago
15 answers 3294 views
added about 3 years ago

Toss it! Married to a doc, you do not want to hear his lecture about bacteria.

added about 3 years ago

Food particles will collect in any cracks or slits in the wood, which translates into bacteria or worst pathogens forming. You can try to fill with an epoxy or wood filler, though the oil probably will not allow it to bone to the wood properly. I would not use this cutting board for preparing food, due to food safety. It could end up as a trivet.


Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 3 years ago

I use tree rounds like this to display cakes/wedding cakes.


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 3 years ago

Well, I'm not a doctor but I look like one, and I'm getting paid to tell you that....

Personally I happen to like Chinese iron wood boards. The advice I would offer would be to soak it in the sink over night and then rub it down with an appropriate cutting board oil. You'll be surprised that some of those cracks will actually close up. But then I am a risk taker and these boards are kind to your knives if not maybe your GI.

added about 3 years ago

How about using sandpaper to buff down the ridges?

added about 3 years ago

Thank you for your answers. As I thought, it is not good. I don't think sandpaper would do it from what I see. I'll try to soak it as pierino suggested before tossing it, but until I try it, I'll avoid using it. It's sad.


June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 3 years ago

I wonder what kind of wood it is.

added about 3 years ago

I don't know what kind of wood it is. The seller didn't speak a single word of English. I just know that there were two kinds (one was around $6 and the other around 9$) and I got the more expensive one which she said would last for 10 years.

added about 3 years ago

I'll definitely not throw it away. But I think I won't be cutting food on it. Unless I manage to get rid of the slits.

added about 3 years ago

All wooden cutting boards end up with small slits from where the knife hits. This is why I use only special designated plastic for cutting chicken or meat and then clean it really thoroughly with soap and a bleach cleaner.
I really don't see a problem using this for cutting veggies so long as you clean it after each use. Clearly there a lot of people in Thailand who use them and are still alive and kicking. If you are too nervous about it, though, how about using it as a cheese board for parties? You can clean it by sprinkling on coarse salt, then lemon and scrub. Also a mixture of vinegar and water for everyday cleaning.

added about 3 years ago

PhillipBrandon, somehow I had skipped over your answer. Only now I read it. Those antibacterial properties in wood may explain why they use it without any problem. That puts things in a new perspective. I'll research a little more and I'll send a couple of emails to some people in Thailand I know there.

lloreen,if it is a no go for food prep, actually regardless of using it for food prep, a cheese is a great idea! I'll definitely do that.

Once again, thank you all!

added almost 3 years ago

Meanwhile i filled all the cracks with bee wax and now all is fine ;)

added almost 3 years ago

That's great! I was going to suggest using what has been going around the internet as "wood Butter." bon appetit jsut posted a little blurb about it and many bloggers have recipes. Hardlikearmour mentioned she's done it on another hotline thread.