The importance of chopping board codes, from yellow to red.
Feeling queasy? You’re not alone.
Food borne illnesses are a very real threat to public safety, and cost millions of pounds per year in lost revenue and NHS treatment. The Food Standards Agency estimates that 500,000 cases of food poisoning from kitchen pathogens occur in the UK annually, leading to thousands of hospitalisations and dozens of preventable deaths.
Campylobacter is the most commonly found pathogen, contributing to 280,000 cases per year, while the potentially fatal salmonella sickens 2500 people annually across the country. These are serious illnesses, all the more galling because they are completely preventable in a commercial kitchen.
All employees should be well trained in food safety standards, including hand washing procedures and cleaning methods – but by far, the biggest culprit to look out for is cross contamination. Thankfully, the UK has an unofficial strategy to combat against the illnesses brought on by cross contamination in a restaurant kitchen – colour coded chopping boards are a fantastic weapon against bacteria being transferred across the kitchen.
Chopping Board Colour Codes
Employees should all be fully versed in what colour board to use for food prep:
Yellow – Cooked meats
Red – Uncooked meats
White – Bread and dairy products (including cheese)
Blue – Raw fish
Green – Salad and fruit
Brown – Raw vegetables (those grown within the soil)
While the boards are easy to understand and remember, best practise dictates that a clearly posted chopping board safety sign should always be in plain view in any restaurant kitchen. This will help all employees remember when they should be using the different boards – and most importantly, will help to keep diners healthy and safe.
Food borne illnesses are easy to prevent if you have the right training and signage – make sure your chopping boards are being used correctly in your kitchen.