10 Things to Know About Color-Coding: Preventing Cross-Contamination

Color-coding helps prevent cross-contamination in food processing facilities

In this third part of our color-coding series, we discuss how color-coding can help prevent cross-contamination in food processing facilities. Facilities with cross-contamination concerns should particularly consider color-coding their food processing plants to lower that risk. The threat of recalls is always prevalent, and food processing facilities should do what they can to prevent this from happening.

Prevent cross-contamination from biological hazardsColor-coding can help decrease the risk of contamination that leads to recalls. Food processors are regulated by the FDA to ensure that cross-contamination is controlled to keep consumers safe. One of the FDA’s rules includes HACCP, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, which imposes guidelines to help keep cross-contamination at a minimum, such as having a written safety plan.

Cross-contamination is prevented by keeping foods that transfer bacteria separate, or by keeping allergens separate. For example, we all know raw meat should never come into contact with processed meat, so you keep them separate. The simplest way to do this is to color-code the food processing facility. When a facility has a color-coded program in place, it makes it that much easier to distinguish between sections. For example, raw meat zones can be color-coded red, and the processed area green.

Sample Color-Coding Systems:

Preventing Functional Cross-Contamination:

Red: Raw Meat

Green: Processed or Cooked Meat

Preventing Departmental Cross-Contamination:

Blue: Seafood

Yellow: Chicken

Preventing Allergen Cross-Contamination:

White: Milk

Green: Soy

Yellow: Wheat

Color-coding makes it immediately apparent if there is a tool or piece of equipment in an incorrect zone, and the necessary steps can be taken to contain any contaminated food. Keeping zones separate is an extremely important food safety measure for preventing cross-contamination, and color-coding helps to do that. The next part in our series is how color-coding can help distinguish between critical zones and control points. For more information on color-coding, download our white paper below.

How to Care for Remco Products and Vikan Tools | Remco Products

To give your Remco Products and Vikan tools a longer lifespan, there are a few care instructions you should follow, including using proper autoclave temperatures, storage methods, and cleaning procedures.

Product Care

Tools are tested for quality

  • Brushware can be autoclaved at 250° F/121° C
  • Individual bristle strength is tested
  • Bristle tufts are tested at 60 Newtons of force
  • Molded parts are tested for strength
  • Chemical resistance testing is performed
  • ISO 9001 Certified
  • ISO 14001 Certified

Proper care prolongs product life

  • Remove all visible dirt
  • Clean with a solution of pH 9 or above
  • Rinse with clean water
  • If lime residues form, remove with a solution of pH 5 or less
  • Rinse with clean water
  • If required, tools can be disinfected after washing
  • Rinse with clean water to remove any disinfectant residue
  • Brushware can be autoclaved at 250° F/121° C if required
  • Hang and dry tools properly

Using color-coded wall brackets for tool storage encourages adoption and understanding of a color-coding food safety program.

Chemical Resistance


G=Good F=Fair P=Poor N=No

Chemical Concentration % Nylon 66 Polyester PBT Polypropylene PVC
Acetic Acid 100 P F G N
Acetone 100 G G G P
Ammonia Liquid G N G G
Aniline 100 P G G N
Benzene 100 G G N P
Bleaching Solutions Dilute N G G G
Caustic Potash 10 G G G G
Caustic Potash 50 G P G G
Chlorine Water Saturated P N G N
Chloroform 100 N G G P
Chromic Acid 10 P G G P
Citric Acid 10 P G G F
Detergent-Soap G G G G
Ethanol 96 G G G P
Ethylacetate 100 G G G P
Formic Acid 98 N N G F
Fuel Acid G G G N
Glycerine G G G G
Hydrochloric Acid 30 N P G G
Lactic Acid 20 P G G F
Methyl Alcohol 100 G G G N
Mineral Oil G G G G
Nitric Acid 10 N G G F
Nitric Acid 50 N G F F
Oleic Acid 100 G G G F
Oxalic Acid 10 N G G F
Petrol G G F G
Phosphoric Acid 85 N G G G
Sea Water G G G G
Sodium Chloride (salt) G G G G
Sodium Hydroxide 10 G N G G
Sodium Hydroxide 50 G N G G
Sodium Hypochloride 10 N G G G
Stearic Acid 100 P G G G
Sulphuric Acid 10 N G G G
Sulphuric Acid 100 N N G N
Tetrachloroethylene G N N P
Toluene 100 G G N N
Turpentine 100 G G G G
Vaseline G G G G
Vegetable Oil G G G G

The above information is given on the assumption that the temperature of the chemical does not exceed 68° F/20° C

Download this Data Sheet

10 Things To Know About Color-Coding: Who Can Benefit from Color-Coding?

In a previous post, we discussed the top ten things to know about color-coding.

The first point was: All types of food processing facilities can benefit from a color-coding program. Whether the facility is concerned with cross-contamination or not, any food processing center can benefit from color-coding. Color-coding helps keep the work area sanitary, and also helps with organization.

While many different industries can use color-coding, the industries that can benefit most from color-coding, however, are:

  • Color-coded zones with matching wall brackets
  • Seafood
  • Dairy
  • Produce/raw ingredients
  • Baking/snack
  • Confectionery
  • Beverage
  • Vineyard/winery
  • Janitorial/sanitation

These are the industries most concerned with preventing cross-contamination, especially when dealing with pathogens, allergens, and other foreign contaminates, and complying with FDA and USDA regulations. In the light of recent food recalls, it is more important than ever to be as vigilant as possible in food processing facilities.


Color-coding can help with issues other than cross-contamination. For instance, keeping the workplace organized is one way color-coding can be helpful, because it helps keep confusion at a minimum. For a facility that has many employees, color-coding can help keep track of tools in a particular work area. On the other hand, a facility that has fewer employees, this level of organization would also be helpful. For example, one color could be for a particular employee or employee role.

Color-coding goes beyond cleaning and material-handling tools. All kinds of accessories can be color-coded to help ensure complete understanding. Hair nets, footwear, clothing, gloves, mats, bins and even tape can be color-coded to make distinguishing between different zones easy. Whatever your food processing facility may be, color-coding can be very helpful, if it is done effectively.

In the next part in our color-coding blog series, we will discuss how color-coding can be used to prevent cross-contamination.

10 Things to Know About Color-Coding: Series Introduction

Color-coding is an important part of any food-safety program, no matter what kind of facility it is.

Purple Products from Remco and Vikan

Not only does it help prevent cross-contamination due to pathogens, allergens and foreign contaminates, color-coding has a variety of other uses. With the number of governmental regulations growing, it is essential that food processing facilities stay on top of the current trends and best practices to be market leaders. Implementing a color-coding program is a great way to help accomplish that.

Here are the top ten things that you should know about color-coding.

  1. All types of food processing facilities can benefit from color-coding
  2. It helps prevent cross-contamination in food processing facilities
  3. It helps to distinguish between critical zones and control points
  4. There is currently no standard set of rules for color-coding, just best practices
  5. Color-coding programs are looked upon favorably by visiting authorities and customers
  6. It simplifies the traceability of tools
  7. Color-coding breaks through existing language barriers
  8. Simplicity is essential for an effective program
  9. Communication is key
  10. Complete implementation improves internal adoption

In-depth discussions of each point will be available in future posts.

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New Ceiling Squeegee for Food Processing Plants

For the problem of ceiling condensation, Remco offers a newly designed ceiling squeegee from Vikan®, and will feature the new tool at the IFT Food Expo® 2012. This brand new version features a one-piece, color-coded head with no screws or end caps, making for a streamlined tool that can easily capture and remove nuisance moisture. While other methods for controlling condensation have proven cumbersome and expensive, Remco’s ceiling squeegee system is simple and cost-effective.

Continue reading “New Ceiling Squeegee for Food Processing Plants”