People only just realising what ‘clock’ symbol on chopping board means

If you have a plastic chopping board, you may have noticed a small clock-looking symbol in one of the corners – but many people don’t realise what this actually means.

Plastic chopping boards, a staple in most kitchens, surprisingly come with an expiry date – a detail often overlooked by many. If you’ve ever used a plastic chopping board, regardless of its colour, you might have spotted a curious clock-like symbol tucked away in one corner.

Yet, it’s likely that the symbol’s true purpose has eluded you. This symbol isn’t just a pretty design choice – it’s actually there to indicate the production date of the chopping board, thereby guiding you on when it might be time to discard it for safety reasons.

Deciphering the symbol can be tricky, though. Upon closer inspection, you’ll find the ‘year’ at the centre – take ’21’ as an example from the image below.

Around this, an arrow points towards a month, with ’10’ being the indicator here. This tells us that the chopping board came into existence in October 2021.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that chopping boards have a lifespan ranging from one to five years, subject to how frequently they’re used. They advise discarding any chopping board that becomes challenging to clean, shows significant wear, or develops grooves.

The Spruce Eats offers this insight: “Although all cutting boards can harbour germs, plastic ones are better than their wooden counterparts because they are nonporous. That makes them especially safer to use with raw meat. For even better hygiene, you should have separate cutting boards for different foods in your kitchen.

“The USDA suggests using one for fresh produce and bread and a different one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. That can help prevent bacteria from raw meat getting spread to food that doesn’t need to be cooked. Buying different colored boards can help you remember which is which, like using a green one for veggies and a red one for meat.

“Good cleaning can help extend the life of plastic cutting boards, but you still need to replace them regularly. Jessica Ek, spokesperson for the American Cleaning Institute, says plastic cutting boards should last at least a year, and maybe up to five years, depending on how often you use them.”

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Commenting on how often they change their chopping boards, one cook on Reddit said: “If you’re cleaning it properly (dishwasher after use), unless it’s beaten up there’s no reason to replace it.”

Another added: “Real wood? Mine last 5-10 years. Plastic? A lifetime.”

A third said: “We have a 30-year-old cutting board nobody maintains. Aside from a little dishing and some burn marks, it’s still going strong. We use it for everything from cleaving whole chickens to cutting mint leaves.”

It comes after a Welsh mum went viral after sharing a helpful post explaining how to figure out when a hot water bottle was made. Mum-of-two Kaylee Whormsley shared the important tip to Facebook after watching consumer expert Alice Beer on ITV’s This Morning.


    On the show, she shared: “You’ve got a daisy wheel date with 12 segments. In the middle, you have the year it was made, then you’ve got 12 segments around the outside those are the months in which it was manufactured.”

    Holding up her own water bottle for reference, Beer elaborated: “You can tell the month it was manufactured from when the dots end. It’s got dots in eight segments so it was made in August.”

    She also shed light on the fact that bottles used regularly typically last no more than three years.

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