In light of the current Alberta beef recall and the ensuing food freak out, I feel that it’s appropriate to have a discussion about food safety.
What the heck is going on with our food?
In our store we have recently started selling cutting boards. We have wood, bamboo, Cork; all really nice looking, practical, natural, and healthy materials.
They are popular. People like them. But now a couple of times a week I get asked the question:
“Can I use these for chicken?”
Believe it. Without fail.
Apparently, the people need to know: Are these things safe enough to protect me against the scariest thing imaginable?
And the answer is simple. Of course they are fine.
People have used all kinds of natural cutting boards for hundreds of years, over and over, and have lived to tell about it.
Do wooden cutting boards fight and kill harmful bacteria? I’m not a scientist, but there are studies that suggest that this might be true.
Why do commercial kitchen laws regulate that plastic is safer? I can’t say if this is totally based on the misconception that a less porous material is less likely to absorb and harbor bacteria, or if the consensus is just that plastic is easier to clean, dishwash, steam etc. (because we all know how what comes out of plastic when heated…)
But here is my solution to the cutting board debate, whatever material you choose:
- Use your cutting board to cut things on.
- Wash it.
That’s it. Done.
We could get into a long discussion about what’s best to clean your cutting board. Commercial kitchens are required to use plastic cutting boards, and are also required to use strong cleaning agents, like bleach, to sterilize them afterwards. And I understand that nobody wants to give anybody food poisoning. But at home I try to keep things like this from getting into my food.
I don’t use a plastic cutting board because I don’t want plastic fitting into my food, and my body. I don’t bleach my cutting board for the same reason.
The real question that comes out of all of this is:
“Why have we let food become so scary?”
Food should not be scary.
It shouldn’t come from a scary or toxic place. It should come from people who care about doing things properly. Animals should live outside, into the grass and bugs and wild plants. And whatever nature intended.
They shouldn’t eat grains, GMO’s, chemicals, hormones or drugs.
Personally, if I am scared to touch my food, I am also scared to eat it.
Interestingly enough, animals that eat the food they were designed to eat have significantly less bacteria and pathogens growing inside them. So to get worked up about the immediate politics surrounding the beef recall, and our current food crisis is hugely missing the point.
There have been many books and articles and films that have come out in recent years that show the horrors of large-scale industrial farming. Events such as this massive beef recall should help motivate us as consumers to look for better and safer options. These events should convince anybody to go out and look for food from farmers they trust.
How much more convincing do we need?