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Color-Code the Cooking Process

Food safety should be a top priority for every foodservice professional all year around, and with September being National Food Safety Month, it’s the perfect time to give it the extra attention it deserves. This month we’ll highlight different food safety procedures.

Today we’re going to talk about color-coding during food prep, service and storage. One major source of food-borne illness is cross-contamination. It’s an easy foodservice crime to commit. Cross-contamination can be caused by something as simple as using the same set of tongs on multiple different pieces of food in the kitchen.  With color-coded kitchen supplies, cross-contamination is easier to avoid.

Often some of the first steps in prepping food to be cooked take place on a cutting board.  During this step, because the product is raw, it’s at a high risk for cross-contamination. Raw chicken is the classic high-risk example. But there is risk with other raw products as well.

19274An excellent way to prevent cross-contamination at this step is to use color-coded cutting boards. Carlisle Foodservice Products features the Sparta® Spectrum® line of color-coded cutting boards and accessories. This line is color-coded from top to bottom in six different colors. The line includes two different types of cutting boards, board brushes, board scrapers, board refinishing tools and a wall chart to keep as a reminder. Color-coded cutting boards are also available from San Jamar and Vollrath respectively. San Jamar’s color-coded offerings include its Allergen Saf-T-ZoneTM System, a purple set of utensils and cutting board specific for protecting consumers with food allergies.

Once food is prepped, utensils come into play. Tongs, dishers, basting spoons, ladles, prep spoons, measure misers … misuse of any one of these utensils can cause cross-contamination. It’s important to have them color-coded as well to ensure that they’re used consistently with the same food products.

Vollrath offers a variety of color-coded utensils including squeeze dishers in nine different sizes, heavy duty stainless steel basting spoons, ladles with Kool-Touch handles, nylon prep spoons and one piece tongs in four different sizes. Vollrath even offers a multi-pack of color-coded tongs that includes six different colored tongs. Carlisle also has color-coded measure misers, dishers and tongs available.

The last place in a commercial foodservice operation where color-coding is important is food storage. It’s important to know what’s being stored in which containers, and color-coding is an excellent way to do that. Additionally, color coding storage containers with the same system as utensils and cutting boards will keep an important level of consistency throughout the operation.

tablecraftpourersFor liquids, Tablecraft’s Safer Food SolutionsTM PourMaster® is a great option for color-coding. The NSF Certified pourers come in six colors making for easy storage and identification. For storing solid food, Cambro CamSquares come with color-coded lids. The CamSquares® are available in both poly and translucent and come in seven different sizes.

Cross-contamination is a major threat to food safety in every commercial foodservice operation. Color-coding throughout the cooking process is a great way to prevent cross-contamination. Carlisle, San Jamar, Vollrath, Tablecraft and Cambro all offer products to help at each step in the cooking process.