Kitchen hygiene standards can make or break a catering business. Read on to discover why colour coding is so important in ensuring high standards of safety in cafes, restaurants and anywhere that food is served.
Anyone who owns or runs a business which involves serving food to customers is obliged to observe certain standards of hygiene, in order to protect customers from illness. Wherever raw food is stored, prepared and cooked, there is the possibility of cross-contamination, as bacteria thrives under the warm conditions of a kitchen environment. Some bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella can be particularly harmful, causing severe illness, and even death in some cases. An outbreak of food poisoning will always be investigated, and can ruin the reputation of the business, even forcing it to close, so it’s well worth getting to grips with current food safety regulations.
What are colour chopping boards?
The dangers of cross contamination are significantly increased when bacteria from raw food comes into contact with cooked or ready-to-eat items. That’s why a system of colour coded chopping boards has been introduced, to keep different types of food completely separated from each other. The usual colour system for chopping boards is as follows:
- Red for raw meat
- Yellow for cooked meats
- Green for salads and fruits
- Brown for vegetables
- Blue for raw fish
- White for bakery products
Some catering companies vary the colours slightly according to the meals produced, which is why it is so important to have clear signage on display, itemising each coloured chopping board and what food it is to be used for. Make sure that your staff understands fully the implications of failure to comply with this policy too, as it could literally save your business.
Not just for chopping boards
A well-organised kitchen will keep a colour-coding theme for other items, in addition to chopping boards, to ensure complete compliance with good hygiene practices. Using colour coded microfibre cleaning cloths, knives and even mops and buckets will all help to foster excellent hygiene in the kitchen environment.
Colour coded microfibre cleaning cloths should be designated for specific tasks, to avoid bacterial contamination. Each work station could have its own designated colour, or for smaller kitchens you could allocate a colour for specific tasks, such as pink for cleaning sink areas, blue for work surfaces and green for fridges and freezers. The choice is up to you, but once again it’s important to display clear signage as a daily reminder to staff.
Knives for cutting meat should be kept separate from knives and implements used in the preparation of cooked food, and it goes without saying that they should be washed at a very high temperature – as should chopping boards – to destroy bacteria.
Taking time to devise a colour coding system within the kitchen is an important part of any catering business. No catering business wants to be hit by food poisoning, so make sure you adopt safe practices to ensure customer safety.