Color Coding of Food Cleaning Materials

Written by laurel dalzell
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Color Coding of Food Cleaning Materials
Colour-coding cleaning products helps identify them. (cleaning products image by AGITA LEIMANE from Fotolia.com)

Colour-coding cleaning supplies, promoted by the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BIC) in Northampton, England, is a relatively common practice used by janitorial companies in many large institutions and work areas such as hospitals, schools and office buildings. When using colour-coding cleaning supplies that are used around food or eating areas, always exercise caution. A small mistake by an untrained staff member can cause serious illness.

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Why Color Code

Colour-coding allows cleaning to be done with confidence. By following an established guideline of colours and associated cleaners, the staff can rest assured that the product they are using is safe for a food area. Even if you are concerned with cleaning an area that deals with food, keep in mind that all eating establishments have rest rooms. You would not want to get a cleaner you can spray on a cutting board confused with a cleaner that is used on a toilet. Constantly instruct your staff on how to use the cleansers and what the colours represent. You may want to have a separate closet or counter to distinguish which cleaners are appropriate for food and/or eating areas and which cleansers are suitable for other tasks. When doing a thorough cleaning to close up for the evening or at the change of a shift, always begin with areas that are more sanitary and work your way down, ending with the rest rooms. All supplies for cleaning can be coded in this manner. Gloves, bottles, buckets, cloths, mops, brushes, can liners and even uniforms can be coded by colour to prevent cross-contamination. Do not use too many colours, as it may become confusing. The Cleaning Management Institute recommends using four or five.

Red

Red says, "STOP". It is associated with high-risk areas, such as urinals and toilets. Use this colour as an indicator of an area that has a high risk of contamination. The utmost care should be used when cleaning these areas.

Yellow

You can use yellow to denote neutral areas, such as bathroom counters and sinks, windows and mirrors. Showers and metal surfaces can be included in this category as well.

Blue

Blue represents areas with low risk of contamination. Tabletops, desktops, counters and every day dusting can be done with cleaners that are in this group.

Green

Use green to indicate food service areas. Any food preparation counters, bar counters cutting boards or sinks can be cleaned with items marked with green.

Confidence In Cleaning

Post maps in all cleaning closets with areas coded by colour to encourage your staff to remember what cleaners are used for what areas of the building. These simple guidelines will help you have an effective cleaning program that ensures your guests and patrons can eat without fear of cross contamination.

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