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Is it Safe to Use Laser Engraved Cutting Board?

Is it Safe to Use Laser Engraved Cutting Board

With modernization in tools and techniques, while creating personalized goods, usage safety is also a priority for the majority of users. The laser engraving industry has seen a tremendous rise in production and development within this domain. It has reached a whopping global market size of 3.55 Billion within 2023 per Polaris Market Research.

Among the diverse range of products that are now customized with high-performing machines are cutting boards. Everything from customer’s initials, monograms, family recipes, food-related quotes, etc are being laser engraved onto these boards.

However, along with this personalized cutting utensil being an attractive keepsake and present, there are some health safety concerns regarding them. Foodborne illnesses and toxins produced from within the laser-engraved area, are the negative effects that may be caused by the usage of laser-engraved cutting boards.

In some countries, specific regulations govern the use of laser-engraved materials in food contact surfaces. Due to being saturation of such products available in the market, cutting boards personalized with low-quality laser engraver also produce rough edges.

This can cause wooden shards to affect the food’s quality while dicing or chopping on it. It poses harm to the person ingesting such food items. To eliminate this, opt for cutting boards created with the most advanced laser engravers such as ComMarker CO2 laser marking machine which creates designs with a precision of 0.01mm.

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To address safety concerns regarding the laser engraved cutting boards and inform our readers which materials and coatings are safe to use with such boards, we have created an informed article below.


What is Laser Engraving?

Now, before we get into the details of the usage of laser engraved cutting board safety, we need to understand the laser engraving process. Laser engraving is a precision marking process in which the laser source is a concentrated, highly focused beam of light.

Within this technique, a beam produced by the laser head is delivered onto the material surface that needs to be engraved. This heats the top layer of the metal, depending on the laser frequency. Through ablation, this removes material from the laser-engraved areas by transitioning from a solid to a direct gas state.

The quality of the laser beam highly impacts the engraving depth and precision. This process leaves behind indents in the pre-determined area, which is in the laser engraving software. One example of a high-quality laser engraver is the ComMarker B4 fiber laser engraving machine.

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B4 fiber laser engraver 0.01mm Precision 15000mm/s Engraving speed 20W Laser power ComMarker B4 fiber laser engraver 0.01mm Precision 15000mm/s

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This comes with a wide engraving area and is highly compatible with LightBurn software. Cutting boards can be easily engraved through these, which can later be sealed with food-friendly resin/sealants for health safety.



Types of Materials Commonly Used for Laser Engraved Cutting Boards

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Let’s talk about the material that’s the best compatible with laser engraving cutting boards. Factors like accessibility, durability, and safety are primary concerns when choosing these materials, and a few of the most ideal of them are mentioned here.

Hardwood

Wood gives a rustic look to the kitchen. Not only is it easily available, but also adds to the aesthetic appeal of the place. For fine engraving, hardwood is ideal, as it is extremely durable. Maple, cherry, and walnut are some of the most in-demand hardwood options opted for durable results in the market to make cutting boards.

Softwood

Due to being a cheap alternative, softwoods like pine and cedar are sometimes considered softwood. However, only basic texts and designs can be made on such type of wood due to its delicate nature.

Acrylic

For a non-porous surface, sometimes people opt for other options besides wood as a cutting board. These make smooth cutting boards. These can mostly be used far from the cooking area due to their lower heat resistance. If an acrylic cutting board melts, then it can be hazardous If any of its residues come into food.

Stainless Steel

For people with more hygienic needs, stainless steel cutting boards are also readily available within the market. These are highly durable and long-lasting and can be laser engraved with the ComMarker B4 fiber laser engraver. However, to remove any idea of toxins contaminating it, mostly a food-grade sealant is required to protect the engraved area before utilizing it.

Glass

As a keepsake, some people get laser engraved glass cutting boards that can be transparent or tinted. But this is of limited use, as its smooth surface is not ideal for cutting any food items in bulk. These are only used to add an aesthetic look to the cooking area.


Benefits of Laser Engraving for Custom Designs and Personalization

Due to the print-on-demand industry being on the rise, customized items are a favorite among food lovers and cooking experts. Here are a few great benefits of laser engraving cutting boards.

  • For gift giving, anyone can get intricate designs, initials of names, milestones, and dates of birth engraved on certain materials. With the help of laser engraving, details, and crisp designs can be created which can help different people create a stronger bond.
  • Companies and cook experts can get their logos printed on cutting boards for advertising purposes. They have design freedom based on preference through laser engraving. This helps them create a customized marketing campaign with the help of their products, improving business visibility and indirectly its growth.
  • A natural touch of elegance can be added on plain cutting boards with the help of laser engraving designs.

Safety Concerns with Laser Engraved Cutting Boards

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Although laser engraved cutting boards are an appealing option when creating a great kitchen space. However, some health and safety-related issues need to be addressed for a more secure approach.

Chemicals and Toxins

A variety of chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), may be released into the air by the laser while it is engraved, depending on the material and kind of laser used. There may be health risks associated with inhaling these vapors or having them leach into food.

Treated and composite wood should be completely avoided to be using a cutting board, as it releases harmful chemicals that can cause serious health risks. Sometimes there can be incomplete laser engravings.

This can leave small particles on the surface which can later If not cleaned be mixed with the food. These should be avoided to maintain proper diet and health.

Durability and Wear

A certain set of factors affect the structural integrity of cutting boards. Shallow engravings should be done on certain types of wood, which keep the strength of the cutting board intact for long periods.

Alongside this, smaller intricate designs should be made with the help of high-quality lasers, such as ComMarker Q1 Diode Laser engraver, which is highly compatible with engraving wood. Also, hardwood is a more durable option when it comes to laser engraving cutting boards, as it stays in great condition for several years.

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Bacteria and Cleanliness

An ideal spot for bacteria and other microbes to grow is in the grooves of the laser engravings on a cutting board. Due to laser engraving, the surface properties of the material laser engraved can change.

This area If not treated with a proper sealant can contain bacteria of different kinds. Washing and cleaning the surface area regularly is of prime importance for safer use. Also, shallow engravings are preferred to avoid microbes finding an area to grow on the cutting board.



Choosing Safe Materials for Laser Engraved Cutting Boards

After discussing all this, an important aspect that we cannot ignore is the finishing of the cutting board after the completion of its laser engraving process. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you do this.


Safe Wood Types

Always opt for foo-grade wood when laser engraving. Alder is similar to cherry wood and one of the most popular options considered for this purpose. Such woods have no chemical residues and resins that can come out of them with time and get infused with the food on the cutting board.


Coatings and treatments

The next step is to consider the best type of sealant to add a protective coating onto the laser engraving of the cutting board. This creates a barrier between the laser engravings and the food items cut on the board and also saves the board from the effects of external elements.

Mineral oil and beeswax are the first choice as a sealant. But these require frequent reapplication, which can be inconvenient. Food-grade varnish is sold on an industrial scale and is one of the most ideal sealant options for this purpose. It offers a water-resistant coating as well. The next option we have is the FDA-approved Epoxy resin sealant, which is specifically for this purpose and offers high durability.

Reapply a food-safe sealer every 3–6 months to keep the wood protected and to prevent the formation of germs. Pick a sealant that has been tested and authorized for use on surfaces that come into touch with food.

Maintenance and Care for Laser Engraved Cutting Boards

After laser engraving a cutting board, to keep it safe and in use for longer periods, here are some cleaning and maintenance tips.


Cleaning Tips: Best practices for keeping engraved boards hygienic

  • To clean the board between uses, wash it in warm, soapy water. Use a soft sponge or brush, preferably a dedicated, sanitized one, to clean these boards. It is important to get rid of any food debris.
  • Conduct a more thorough cleaning of the board once weekly. To do this, soak the board for 10 to 15 minutes in a mixture of one tablespoon of white vinegar with one gallon of water. This aids in the decomposition of germs and traces of food. Make sure to rinse it well and let it air dry entirely before using this again.
  • Weekly or monthly disinfection of the board is recommended, depending on its use. To disinfect, use a food-safe solution, such as diluted bleach. To disinfect cutting boards, you may use a commercial product or mix one tablespoon with one gallon of water. After disinfection, rinse well and let air dry completely.
  • Avoid using steel wool, abrasives, and strong chemicals to clean these cutting boards. These may cause surface damage, which might lead to the formation of further bacteria-related cracks.
  • Depending on how often you use the board, you should give it an extensive cleaning and gently sand it every 12 to 18 months. If there is accumulated residue or deteriorated sealant, you may remove it with fine-grit sandpaper. A fresh layer of sealant that is safe for digestion should be applied thereafter.
  • Regularly, check the board for damage, such as cracks, splinters, or worn-out engravings. These should be dealt with immediately since they may carry microbes. Replace the board if it’s severely damaged


Avoiding Cross-Contamination: Strategies for using different boards for various food types


To maintain food safety and avoid contamination, it is essential to use separate cutting boards for various kinds of food.  Use color-coded boards or labels to distinguish between different sorts of food; for example, red for meat, green for vegetables, yellow for chicken, and blue for fish.

Consider purchasing specialized boards, such as cheese boards or breadboards, for your cooking needs. To prevent germs from being transferred from one meal to another, only use utensils that are specifically made for that purpose.

Conclusion

The laser industry has seen a tremendous shift in bulk production of products with the introduction of advanced laser engraving machines. Along with this, customized of products with laser engraving has also become easy. Personalized cutting boards are one of the preferred options to give as gifts for food lovers and cooking experts, however, these are only ideal to keep as keepsakes.

Posing health risks If not sealed with a proper coating/sealant after laser engraving, these cutting boards can contaminate food. Apart from this, different microbes can grow within the grooves of the laser engravings on the cutting board. Various cleaning techniques and proper sealants along with the selection of the right kind of wood should be considered for the safe use of the laser-engraved cutting board. We hope this article was of maximum help to you.

About David Lee

Hello, I'm David Lee, I'm a passionate and creative professional commercial Laser Engraver and marking specialist with a wealth of experience and a wide range of knowledge. Overthe past 10 years, I have focused on Laser Engraver and marking solutions for various commercial projects.l am sensitive to new technologies and design trends ,constantly seeking the best Laser Engraver and marking experience

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