Quick & Easy Ways to Color Code for Food Safety

Color coding is a simple, yet effective way to communicate critical information to employees. Regardless of literacy levels, languages spoken, or the industry in which it’s used, it’s easy and it works—especially in foodservice!

Cross-contamination is a leading cause of foodborne illness. Color coding tools in your foodservice operation is a quick and cost effective way to reinforce your food safety program with limited training.

Color coding systems vary, but the following are examples used in foodservice to ensure that kitchen tools are used only for specific types of foods to protect against cross-contamination:

  • Green: fruits and vegetables
  • Red: meats
  • Yellow: poultry
  • Blue: seafood
  • White: dairy/cheese
  • Purple: gluten-free or other allergen-free foods

Countless consumer grade kitchen tools are available in a broad variety of colors, but they’re not designed for heavy use. Commercial grade tools can help prevent cross-contamination while withstanding the extreme demands of your busy foodservice operation. Here’s how.

Prep and Cooking

Mercer Culinary Millennia Colors Knives have color-coded handles for dedicated use applications such as produce, poultry, or meats, to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. These essential prep tools are easy for employees to use and support your food safety system.

Mercer Millennia Colors knives are available in blue, brown, green, purple, red, yellow, and white. The Millennia Cutlery line is also available in black.

Color Coded Knife Racks by Edlund provide safe, sanitary storage for dedicated-use knives. 

Fully enclosed with a 12′′ heavy duty stainless steel skirt with a replaceable, high impact thermoplastic insert, this rack is offered with a choice of seven different insert colors.

Each rack holds 1 cleaver and 4 chef knives, 6 chef knives, 8 slicers, or 12 paring knives and 1 round or diamond steel.

Grippy™ Cutting Boards from TableCraft help reduce the risk of cross-contamination and promote Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) guidelines with color coding for dedicated use.

Grippy Cutting Boards are sold separately in white, green, red, yellow, blue, and brown. They’re also offered in convenient multi-color variety packs of 4 or 6, in 18″ x 12″ and 15″ x 20″ sizes. 

Sanitary and dishwasher safe with an integrated handle and corner grips to help hold the board in place, these polypropylene boards are also heat, chemical, and warp resistant. 

Mercer Culinary Millennia Turners are made with a precision-ground, high-carbon Japanese stainless steel blade that’s firm yet flexible. 

Their molded polypropylene handles feature a dual-textured finish for extra grip and slip resistance and are available in red, yellow, blue, purple, black, and white.

Each tool in the Mercer Culinary Allergen Safety Collection features a prominent purple color to provide your kitchen staff with a safe and simple way to avoid cross-contamination of products containing allergens or gluten. 

The collection includes knives, turners, pie servers, pizza cutters, silicone bake mats, scrapers, and spreaders to cover all your prep needs while helping you protect your customers with food allergies.

These allergen safety kitchen tools are sold separately or as a complete set to simplify implementation of new allergen safety programs with a single item code. The complete set comes packaged in a purple prep tool and storage tote.

Allergen Free Camwear® Measuring Cups help protect against potentially dangerous allergens during prep. 

Available in 1 cup, 1 pint, 2 and 4 quart sizes, these crystal-clear measuring cups are labeled with a purple “Allergen Free” logo and standard graduations for accuracy and speed. 

Virtually unbreakable material withstands acids, stains, and odors to provide long term use.

Food Storage

Food Storage Boxes from Cambro extend freshness and reduce risk of contamination. 

Offered in clear, Safety Yellow for raw poultry, and Safety Red for raw meats, Cambro food storage boxes are dishwasher safe for maximum hygiene and food safety. 

Their crystal-clear material is virtually unbreakable, enables easy visual inventory, and minimizes handling from storage to prep. 

Durable Allergen-Free Camwear® CamSquares by Cambro maximize food storage capacity while increasing allergen awareness and food safety in hectic kitchens. 

These containers are clearly labeled with a purple “Allergen Free” logo and purple graduations, so it’s easy to identify them and keep them separated from potentially dangerous allergens. 

Containers are crystal clear for at-a-glance inventorying and content identification. Use with Cambro’s purple Allergen Free snap on covers for even easier identification and to protect against cross-contamination and extend shelf life.


TableCraft V-Hinge Tongs serve up a winning combination of stainless steel tongs with a heavy-spring steel hinge design and a color-coded, comfort grip vinyl handle. 

Colored vinyl grips provide extra control while helping to prevent cross contamination. 

Tongs are dishwasher safe up to 212°F, and are available in 9″, 12″, and 16″ lengths, with red, green, blue, yellow, or black vinyl handles for color coding.

We can help you support all aspects of your food safety plan all year long. Whether you need help reinforcing safety in prep, storage, holding, serving, warewashing, or any other part of your operation, contact us any time.