While dining out recently, we came across a restaurant which served us a delicious meal with a gorgeous presentation on a wooden plank rather than typical plateware. This got us thinking, about ServSafe training and wooden plank serving utensils. Do we need special steps to prevent food-borne illnesses from food served on wood planks and other alternative serving items?
ServSafe Training and Wooden Plank -Sanitation
ServSafe training tells us that all flatware must be sanitized between uses. Normally, this is done in a mechanical dishwashing machine or hand washed in a triple sink system. Can wooden serving boards be sanitized in the same way?
Wood is tricky to sanitize. Over time and repeated uses, small cuts from knives and other utensils form. Bacteria can hide and multiply in these cuts and dishwashing chemicals can seep in and potentially contaminate food. Extra care must be taken to ensure proper sanitation. We recommend using a triple sink and air drying method to clean wooden serving boards, and to do so immediately after use.
We’ve seen these large wooden boards featured on buffet lines as well. Many of these are crafted in a manner where a heat lamp is permanently attached. These are especially tricky to sanitize. Take care to wash and sanitize these by hand as soon as possible after every use.
A key to keeping food served on these boards is to make sure that you are using food-service-grade serving ware. These boards are harder and more resistant to wear and tear, and should be available from your local supplier. When investing in wooden serving materials, remember that these will not last forever and over time will need to be replaced.
What if you’re interested in wooden serving boards, but would rather not invest in costly materials that will need to be replaced on a regular basis? We’ve done some digging, and laminated wood boards and faux-wood plates look like a great alternative. Food-grade laminated wooden planks and fake wood can be easier to wash, many times in your standard dishwashing machine, and have a much longer life than expensive real wooden planks. While it is possible to spot the difference between real and fake wood, we see this as a safer and more cost effective investment into alternative serving ware.
Do you use wooden serving planks or any other type of serving ware other than standard plates in your restaurant?