Re: cork cutting boards
I can't imagine why any pathologist or pathologist's assistant would cut
tissue on a surface of wood, cork, or paper. One touch of a new or newly
sharpened blade on one of these surfaces dulls it. Polyethylene (polythene,
Brits) is so soft that it doesn't dull a blade. The difference is enormous.
Since pathologists rarely have them, I usually buy a polyethylene cutting
board at a kitchen store when I start a new job. It's difficult to find
boards of sufficiently soft polyethylene, and without cutesy-poo pictures of
mushrooms and tomatoes, a handle hole (which specimens fall into), or what I
call a "filth groove" - a groove around the edge for crud to collect in.
These things cost about US $7. Supposedly you can get more suitable
polyethylene cut to order at a restaurant supply store, but I doubt a
pathologist could get away with that.
Boards can be cleaned with bleach - undiluted works better to remove blood
and tissue residue - at the end of the working day. Inks, particularly india
ink, eventually discolor the board.
Restaurants are now prohibited from cutting on wood, because it cannot be
disinfected satisfactorily. When I started doing Chinese cooking about 25
years ago, I used to cut on wood, sharpening my old dirty-steel blades
myself. When the late great Chinese cook and author Joyce Chen recommended
that all Chinese cooks change to polyethylene, I took her advice. I was
amazed at how much less sharpening I had to do.
The persistence of wood in cutting areas is one more example of the failure
of regulators to deal with the processes pathologists actually have their
hands on. You'd never get away with wood in a microbiology lab.
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