Plastic cutting boards as a source of microplastics in meat

Rana Zeeshan Habib, Vijo Poulose, Rana Alsaidi, Ruwaya al Kendi, Syed Haris Iftikhar, Abdel Hamid Ismail Mourad, Wajeeh Fares Kittaneh, Thies Thiemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Plastic cutting boards were found to be the source of polythene microplastic contamination in cut meat commercially available at butchers and a supermarket chain in the Middle East, making them also a direct source of microplastic in wastewater. The mean size of the microplastic in the raw meat was 1279.2 ± 835.0 µm, but decreased when the meat was cooked or fried. The microplastic melted during both cooking and frying processes and recrystallised partially upon cooling. Washing the meat for a short time (10 seconds) before preparing it reduced the microplastic contamination insignificantly, and only extensive washing of the meat over longer periods of time (3 min) helped decrease the microplastic count to 0.07 MP/g meat. The composition of the cutting boards was analysed by FT-IR spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry and subjected to wear, tensile and hardness tests. From a 3D photo of a spent cutting board, it was calculatedthat 875 g polythene was lost from the cutting board at the end of its lifetime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-619
Number of pages11
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Plastic cutting board
  • food contamination
  • meat
  • microplastics
  • polythene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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