One milliliter of culture containing a five-strain mixture of Escherichia coli O157:H7 (approximately 10(10) CFU) was inoculated on a 100-cm2 area marked on unscarred cutting boards. Following inoculation, the boards were air-dried under a laminar flow hood for 1 h, immersed in 2 liters of electrolyzed oxidizing water or sterile deionized water at 23 degrees C or 35 degrees C for 10 or 20 min; 45 degrees C for 5 or 10 min; or 55 degrees C for 5 min. After each temperature-time combination, the surviving population of the pathogen on cutting boards and in soaking water was determined. Soaking of inoculated cutting boards in electrolyzed oxidizing water reduced E. coli O157:H7 populations by > or = 5.0 log CFU/100 cm2 on cutting boards. However, immersion of cutting boards in deionized water decreased the pathogen count only by 1.0 to 1.5 log CFU/100 cm2. Treatment of cutting boards inoculated with Listeria monocytogenes in electrolyzed oxidizing water at selected temperature-time combinations (23 degrees C for 20 min, 35 degrees C for 10 min, and 45 degrees C for 10 min) substantially reduced the populations of L. monocytogenes in comparison to the counts recovered from the boards immersed in deionized water. E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes were not detected in electrolyzed oxidizing water after soaking treatment, whereas the pathogens survived in the deionized water used for soaking the cutting boards. This study revealed that immersion of kitchen cutting boards in electrolyzed oxidizing water could be used as an effective method for inactivating foodborne pathogens on smooth, plastic cutting boards.