Restaurant Cutting Board Color Code Chart

Restaurant Cutting Board Color Code Chart

Keeping your food safe is vital to staying in business. Avoid cross-contamination of food. One way to keep it safe is to have a standard cutting board color code chart system for your cutting boards. This sheet has recommended colors and also recommendations on cleaning and sanitation.

Food safety needs to be at the top of your list. If a customer or employee get ill because they ate at your restaurant it may cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. We have all heard of restaurants where people got sick. In those situations, the restaurant will likely lose business, suffer lawsuits, or even end up shutting down completely.

We recommend that you use several acrylic or plastic cutting boards to maintain a cutting board color code. Wooden cutting boards can harbor bacteria because they are porous and have small cracks. Wood is also more difficult to clean and can crack with repeated use. Glass cutting boards are not good for knives, will break if dropped and you could even get small glass particles in the food if your knife is very sharp. Use cutting boards made of plastic or acrylic.

What is the point of color coding?

It helps you avoid one source of cross contamination which can cause illness

Your kitchen staff quickly know which board to use in any situation.

The Cutting Board Color Code Chart also has some tips on cleaning and sanitizing cutting boards.

Cleaning Cutting Boards

Cutting boards should be washed with hot, soapy water after each use, rinsed with clear water and air dried. If you must dry them quickly pat with clean paper towels. We do not recommend a dishtowel because they get wiped on many surfaces and can actually harbor bacteria. Another great reason for acrylic or plastic cutting boards is that you can also run them through the dishwasher to clean and sanitize them.

If you do not have a dishwasher, you can sanitize them using 1 tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach to a gallon of water. We don’t recommend the scented bleaches because they can leave the scent behind on the cutting board. We recommend that you soak them in the bleach solution or spritz them with the bleach, then rinse and air dry them

When to Replace Cutting Boards

Cutting boards should be discarded and replaced if they develop hard to clean grooves from your knives. Cutting boards are used heavily used in many kitchens.

Teach and coach all of your employees on food safety.

Cutting different foods on a surface that held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs can spread bacteria and make you sick. But stopping cross-contamination is simple.

  • Cutting Board Color Code use allows you to separate items like fresh produce, raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • It’s also a great idea to use separate plates and utensils for cooked and raw foods.
  • Don’t use the same cutting board to cut raw meat after it has been cooked.
  • Before using them again, thoroughly wash plates, knives, utensils, and cutting boards

Additional ways to promote food safety

  • Use Date Dots on all foods to know when they need to be discarded. Managers should be in the habit of enforcing the use of Date Dots and discarding expired foods.
  • Some Chefs will make a menu special if there is a lot of the same product that will expire in the next day to avoid waste.
  • Teach your staff on “First In First Out” (FIFO) when stocking food or unloading a truck
  • Cooks and prep persons should wear gloves when handling food and frequently wash their hands.
  • Management should verify that prep is cooling down foods properly.

Food Cool Down Recommendations

There are several ways to properly cool down hot foods

  1. Use shallow pans – The pan measurements should by 4×2 four inches high and 2 inches deep. The food in this pan will cool down quickly. Place the pan in the walk-in do not stack other pans on top.
  2. Reduce the food mass – cut meats in half or quarters and place the cut meats in a 4×2 pan. Place that pan into the walk-in until it cools down to 41 degrees or below.
  3. Ice bath method –  Submerge the food pan in an ice bath or prep sink full of ice. Stir the food in the pan frequently. Store the food when the temperature reaches 41 degrees or below.
  4. Two-step cooling process – Verify Temperatures.  Record temperatures and use a properly calibrated thermometer when cooling food. Verify that the internal temperature cooled from 140 degrees F to 70 degrees F within two hours; and then 70 degrees F to 40 degrees F. or below, within four hours. So you have a total of six hours, but the first two hours are the most critical.

Restaurant Cutting Board Color Code Chart


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Here are some great resources to purchase colored cutting boards:

Webstaurant Store
KaTom Restaurant Store
ETundra Restaurant Supplies

B2B Sales at CKitchen

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