Chopping Board Colour Coding: What The Colours Mean

In any professional kitchen or food preparation environment, hygiene and food safety are paramount. One common practice to prevent cross-contamination and ensure food safety is using chopping board colour coding. 

You may have noticed that chopping boards come in a variety of colours, but have you ever wondered what each colour represents? Let’s delve into the significance of each colour and why it matters for maintaining food safety standards.

#1: Red: Handling Raw Meat

The red chopping board is synonymous with raw meat, including beef, pork, lamb, and game. It serves as a visual cue to alert kitchen staff to cautiously handle raw meat. Cross-contamination from raw meat can lead to foodborne illnesses, making it crucial to separate raw meat from other food items during preparation. Using a red chopping board for raw meat helps mitigate this risk by ensuring that utensils and surfaces used for raw meat are not used for other ingredients.

#2: Blue: Reserved for Raw Fish and Seafood

Blue chopping boards are dedicated to raw fish and seafood like salmon, tuna, and shellfish. Just like raw meat, raw fish carries the risk of harbouring harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses if not handled properly. By assigning a specific colour to raw fish, kitchen staff can easily differentiate between raw fish and other food items, reducing the likelihood of cross-contamination. 

#3: Green: Washed Fruits and Vegetables

Green chopping boards are designated for chopping fruits and vegetables. The vibrant green colour signifies freshness and nature, making it a fitting choice for produce. Kitchen staff can prevent cross-contamination from raw meat and fish by using a separate chopping board for fruits and vegetables. This upholds food safety standards and ensures that fruits and vegetables maintain hygiene standards since they are not high risk foods, and should not be prepared on the same surface as a high risk food to prevent transfer of harmful microorganisms.

#4: Yellow: Handling Cooked Meats

Yellow chopping boards are reserved for cooked meats, such as roasted chicken or grilled steak. After raw meat has been cooked to the appropriate temperature, it is transferred to a yellow chopping board for further preparation before serving. Using a separate board for cooked meats helps prevent cross contamination from uncooked meat, since freshly cooked meat is considered safe and ready for human consumption.

Yellow chopping boards facilitate efficient workflow in the kitchen, allowing chefs to maintain food safety standards without compromising on efficiency.

#5: Brown: Unwashed Vegetables

Brown chopping boards are sometimes used to chop unwashed vegetables like leek, potatoes, carrots, and onions. Separating unwashed vegetables from other produce helps prevent cross-contamination and ensures that each ingredient is handled safely and hygienically. 

The reason unwashed vegetables are not prepared on a green chopping board is because unwashed vegetables may have soil on them. The soil may have microorganisms harmful to humans.

By using a brown chopping board for unwashed vegetables, kitchen staff can maintain food safety by preventing cross contamination caused by soil into other ready-to-eat fruit of veg, like salads.

#6: White

A white chopping board is commonly used for bakery and dairy items, including bread and cheese. You would use this when preparing sandwiches for example.

#7: Purple: allergen foods

The colour purple is designated for preparing allergen-free foods. This includes any food items that must be made without common allergens, such as nuts, gluten, dairy, eggs, and soy, among others. So if a customer says they have an allergy to nuts, kitchen staff would use a clean purple board to prepare their food instead of a green board which under normal circumstances, may have been used earlier to chop nuts. The use of a separate colour ensures there is a clear distinction between the preparation of food for customers with allergies vs those without.

Keep Your Kitchen Safe and Hygienic

In the fast-paced environment of a professional kitchen, maintaining food safety standards is crucial to ensuring the health and well-being of customers. Chopping board colour coding is a simple yet effective method to prevent cross-contamination and uphold hygiene practices. By understanding the significance of each colour, kitchen staff can work efficiently and confidently, knowing that they are taking the necessary steps to keep their kitchen safe and hygienic. 

So, next time you’re in the kitchen, remember the importance of chopping board colour coding and make it a priority in your food preparation routine. Your customers and your taste buds will thank you for it.

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