7 Ways Colour Coding Can Increase Hygiene

23 Feb 2017

7 Ways Colour Coding Can Increase Hygiene

Did you know cross contamination can cost the food industry millions?

In 2006 Cadbury Schweppes estimated the salmonella contamination of chocolate that occurred at its plant in Marlbrook, Herefordshire cost appx. £20m ($37.5m).[1].

Do not let this be you! Understanding the hazards that can affect food safety, sanitation & quality are paramount to every industry. Diseases people catch from eating contaminated food are a cause of illness, disability and deaths around the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, worldwide; food-borne and water borne diarrhoeal diseases together kill about 2.2 million people annually [2]. Food borne diseases are caused by consuming food or drink contaminated by disease-causing (pathogenic) micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites.[3]. In catering environments, consumers with food allergies or intolerances; eating even a small amount of the food(s) they are sensitive to can make them very ill.

Common examples of intolerances are dairy and gluten. The Chicopee® Coffee Towel is now available in purple as well as orange. This is ideal for busy coffee shops serving consumers who like their drinks with milk or favour a dairy alternative on the go. To reduce the risk of cross contamination in hygiene, catering and janitorial industries our Stronghold® branded colour coded cloths are tailored to suit any task at hand.

7 Ways Colour Coding Can Increase Hygiene are as follows:

1)      Using different coloured cloths to aid colour coded zones limits the risk of cross contamination for hygiene, catering and janitorial cloth applications [2], [3], [4]. Our Stronghold® All Purpose Lightweight Cloths are both versatile and disposable. Ideal for use in front of house areas for cleaning tables and in busy locations for absorbing spills.

Examples of how to colour code zones are:

-          Blue General restaurant areas e.g. tables, trays etc…

-          Red Washrooms, floors and toilets

-          Yellow Disinfection of kitchen appliances e.g. ovens, knives etc...

-          Green Kitchen and food preparation areas

2)      A well implemented colour coding system could reduce product contamination and the likelihood of foreign bodies in your food or drink. These are items consumers perceive as being alien to the food; and are the biggest source of complaints in food manufacturing and other industries.[5].

3)      Correct use of colour coded systems assists end users to identify when a cloth has been placed or been used in the wrong colour coded zones; i.e. a red cloth used in the kitchen to prepare food.

4)      Colour coding could help to overcome language barriers in the janitorial sector. For example employees from different ethnic backgrounds may find it easier to learn a colour based usage system over reading pages of literature in a handbook.

5)      Keep it simple to prevent confusion and ease implementation.

6)      Using colour coded cloths can help maximise the life cycle of the cloth depending on the application; and thus reduce cleaning costs.

7)      Disposable and reusable colour coded cloths can help control cost and support hygiene processes.

Choosing the right cloth to suit your application can be tricky. Here at Harrison Wipes® we can advise you on which cloth to choose tailored to your task.


  1.       Cadbury Faces Salmonella Action (April 2007), <Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/6583027.stm> [Accessed 26/01/17].
  2.       The Five Keys to Safer Food Programme, <Available from: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/consumer/5keys/en/> [Accessed 26/01/17].
  3.       Todd, E. C. D., Michaels, B. S., Greig, J. D., Smith, D., Holah, J. and Bartleson, C. A.  (April 2010), Outbreaks Where Food Workers Have Been Implicated in the Spread of Foodborne Disease. Part 7. Barriers To Reduce Contamination of Food by Workers. Journal of Food Protection: Vol. 73, No. 8, pp. 1552-1565. <Available from: http://jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X-73.8.1552> [Accessed 24/01/2017].
  4.       Clayton, D. A., Griffith, C. J., Price, P. and Peters, A. C. (July 2010), Food handlers' beliefs and self-reported practices pp.25-39 Published Online: 21 July 2010, <Available from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09603120120110031> [Accessed 24/01/2017]
  5.       Edwards, M. C., Stringer, M. F. (2007). Observations on patterns in foreign material investigations. The Breakdowns in Food Safety Group. Food Control. Vol. 18, issue 7, p.773-782. ISSN: 0956-7135.