Your kitchen island counter tops should not only be able to allow you valuable work space but they should also promote the utmost standards in cleanliness and hygiene. You are putting your food on those surfaces after all and eventually, the food that you prepare will go into your body. If not properly cared for, you can get sick through a food borne illness. Therefore it is absolutely vital that you incorporate an environment that is positive for your health as well as your family's in your kitchen island plans.
In choosing the material of for your countertop, you have a great variety of choices but the two styles that will be discussed in this article are plastic and butcher blocks. The reason for this is the fact that there has been an ongoing debate surrounding the safety of both makes. It's prudent to explore the difference between these two materials and
Butcher block island counter tops are typically constructed out of a thick grade of premium wood. Usually, they have been properly dried to prevent warping and cracking but there is little additional treatment otherwise. In order to let the natural grain shine through, it is best that minimal layers are added upon it. Plastic cutting boards are probably the more popular variety because they are light-weight and generally less expensive. However, when put next to each other in an argument about sanitation, how do they measure up?
Initially, there was a rumor that went around saying that wood cutting boards and butcher blocks are more likely to harbor dangerous levels of bacteria and germs for the mere fact that they are porous. Because of this, they were believed to soak up juices from raw meats and allow such harmful bacteria such as E. Coli and salmonella to get beyond the surface and fester beneath. This, compounded with the idea that plastic boards are not porous and therefore easier to clean, created a bad rap for butcher blocks.
Researchers were surprised to find, however, that this is not the case at all. When they did experiments with the two different boards, they discovered that the butcher block varieties were ultimately more sanitary than the plastic boards. After applying large quantities of disease-causing bacteria to the surfaces of the cutting boards, the butcher blocks were able to resist any kind of unsanitary growth. In fact, more than 99 percent of the bacteria applied to the wood butcher blocks died within three minutes while the bacteria on the plastic multiplied.
Even after washing both of them with hot soapy water, the plastic board had some bacteria remain on it. Although it hasn't been proven conclusively why this is, there are theories that say that bacteria-growth has little to do with the pores and more about the material itself. The wood has natural bacteria-killing properties whereas plastic cutting boards don't fare so well in that department. In addition, because of all the nicks and grooves in a plastic cutting board that are synthesized and further worsened by knife slashes, it's difficult to fully clean it.