The color coding of cutting boards is a cute idea fostered by TV shows and plastics companies to sell sets of color coded cutting boards. If you handle your food items well and wash and sanitize your equipment properly it shouldn't matter what color the boards are...but since when did logic and rational thought apply to a government agency.
It seems every 3-5 years food handling regulations go through subtle, meaningless changes because the people in charge of issuing these mandates need to justify their existence (paycheck). Not too long ago hot food holding temperatures went from a low of 145 to 140. What difference does 5 degrees make, especially if you're going to lower the floor of allowable temperature?? Hell, New Jersey outlawed over easy,sunny side up, soft boiled and poached eggs for a while. Its currently illegal to make salad dressings, ice cream, and hollandaise derived sauces with whole eggs. Restaurants must resort to purchasing cartons of pasteurized yolks and deal with serving an imperfect product. I know, I'm hauling this thing WAY off track, my apologies
At one point wooden cutting boards were actually thought to be preferable because after years of use you can sand them down to a fresh, smooth surface, and the tannic compounds in a maple board actually act as a mild anti bacterial agent. I'd love nothing more than to be able to work on a righteous, heavy maple board at the restaurant like I do at home.
HDPE boards, once hacked and gouged with deep knife cuts theres no way to refinish them. Sanding turns them into a disgusting suede-finished mess. One of my cooks tried doing ours with a belt sander a few years back and I about wanted to choke him (ended up tossing about $300 worth of useable boards) We're currently stuck with buying new boards every other season or so. I would love nothing more than to work on a nice thick slab of maple, if not a foot thick butcher's block. Wood-vs-poly is one of those irrational, fear fueled decisions made in an office by experts with the faintest familiarity of the industry.
If I was constructing a fillet table I'd go somewhere along Dunk's idea and have a cutting surface of cheap, easily replaced, and still-grippy-when-wet wood. Think about it, its for cleaning and portioning fish...you're not dicing hundreds of pounds of vegetables on it where you'll tear up the surface too terribly. Plywood shouldn't be an issue unless you plan on cooking the fish on it. If the slab you laid down begins getting mangled from blade gouges, put a new one down :thumbsup: