Color coded chopping boards: 7 Colors to Prevent Food Cross-Contamination

color-coded cutting boards

Color-coded chopping boards have been one of the best inventions to help ensure hygiene and prevent cross-contamination. In this article, you will learn the different color chopping boards and what type of food for which color. Cross-contamination has always been a major problem and cause of food-related illnesses (a.k.a Food Poisoning) for any food establishment. Cross-contamination is the transfer of dangerous bacteria from one food item (ingredient) to another.  However, this can occur through kitchen tools, equipment, or hands. However, cross-contamination can come from many sources. For example, raw egg whites may end up in a salad dressing that was not intended to contain the egg whites, and they are then exposed to many different things such as other food particles, fruit juices, other juices, and many other ingredients.

How to Use Coloured Cutting Boards in Your Kitchen

Color-coded cutting board meanings

The best way to prevent cross-contamination is to make sure that every piece of food that you are using is properly separated from other ingredients and the equipment or utensil is well labeled or easily identifiable. Furthermore, at our homes and restaurants, one of the major culprits for cross-contamination is the cutting board. For those reasons, the color-coded chopping boards were innovated to help reduce the problem of cross-contamination in food preparation settings.

The colors for each board helps you to remember and track which chopping board is reserved for the different types of food so that you do not cut fruits and veggies of the same board you used to cut the raw fish and seafood. In that case, each food group (Food type) has a different color board reserved for it. Color-coded chopping boards can help you save time when preparing your foods and save money. This is especially true if you cook for a large number of people.

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7 Different Coloured Chopping Boards and Their Uses

Below are the different food categories and their respective cutting board colors:


Cutting Board Color Food To Prepare On It
WHITE Bakery and Diary (e.g. Bread, Eggs, and cheese, TOFU)
GREEN Green Veggies, Fresh Fruits, Nuts, and Salads
RED Raw Meat (Including poultry)
BLUE Raw Fish and Sea Foods
BROWN Earthy Foods (Root vegetables and tubers)
YELLOW Cooked Meat (incl. Roast or boiled chicken, or turkey and fried or boiled fish)
PURPLE “Free-From” Foods (e.g. Gluten-free diets)


It is usually the plastic cutting boards that are color-coded. However, color-coded chopping boards can also be got in wood, ceramic, or glass material. You can buy the color-coded boards as a complete set containing all the colors, or of course separately. To get the right cutting board for your needs, of course, you have to figure out what it is you will be cutting.

A Note on Purple Chopping Boards

In the past, it used to be only a few colors, namely blue, red, yellow, green, brown, and white. However, recently, the newest addition to the collection of colors for cutting boards was purple, making it seven colors that are used in chopping boards. So, what is the purpose of the purple color-coded chopping board? The PURPLE board is used for ‘free-from’ foods. For example, free- from gluten, etc. This is important for people with conditions such as Celiac disease who want gluten-free diets.


Frequently Asked Questions About Color-coded Cutting Boards

In this section, we shall try to answer the top questions subsequently asked about color chopping boards.

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What is the color chopping board used for Green Veggies, Fruits, NUTS, FRUIT, and SALADs?

A GREEN color-coded chopping board is used for anything fresh and fruity such as for Green Veggies, Fruits, Nuts as well as SALADS.

What color of the cutting board should I use for raw Meat?

A RED color-coded chopping board is used for preparing raw meats. For example, raw chicken, raw turkey for smoking would be prepared on a red board.

What color chopping board for Raw Seafood and FISH?

A BLUE board is used to prepare raw fish and raw seafood in general.

What color chopping board for COOKED MEAT?

Cooked Meat is prepared on a YELLOW board.  This includes Roast or boiled chicken, turkey, as well as fried or boiled fish, which are both regarded as cooked Meat.

What color chopping board for DIARY AND BAKERY PRODUCTS (Bread, eggs, and cheese)?

Bread, Eggs, and cheese should then be prepared on a WHITE board.

What color chopping board for POTATOES, CARROTS, or PARSNIPS?

A BROWN chopping board is used for all earthy foods such as ROOT vegetables.

What color chopping board for TOFU?

TOFU is not fresh and fruity = green, although it is a vegetable-based product, nor is it an earthy food=brown. However, TOFU, which is a product from curdled soya bean milk is similar to cheese. Hence, it should be prepared on a WHITE board.

What color chopping board for onions and garlic?

The straight answer to this is to use a GREEN color-coded chopping board for onions and garlic. This is because, onions are not earthy vegetables, nor is it fruity, green, or fresh.

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Therefore, the GREEN color chopping board is used when cutting/chopping the onions and garlic to avoid root vegetable soil from getting into the chopped onions or garlic. The board is normally rinsed thoroughly afterward to avoid the flavors of onion and garlic from entering the next prepared food that could be a fresh fruit salad!


A kitchen is a place where a person must take pride in his work and is a place that is constantly in motion, which could expose it to risks of cross-contamination. Additionally, to minimize the risks, save time and money, it is important to utilize systems and tools that provide great efficiency, convenience, and functionality. The use of a coded food preparation system such as color-coded chopping boards for kitchen purposes offers the chef many benefits. However, it does not only end with color chopping boards. This same system can also be applied to other kitchen goods such as color-coded knives and cleaning equipment. However, it is not the rule to provide color-coded kitchenware, it is a method that should be followed by any commercial kitchen and home cook to ensure the highest possible standards of food hygiene.

Photo credit

Image by Darren Li from Pixabay

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Color coded chopping boards: 7 Colors to Prevent Food Cross-Contamination
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Color coded chopping boards: 7 Colors to Prevent Food Cross-Contamination
There are different color coded boards on market . You need to know when to use each color on a given food ingredient. White Green White Blue Yellow Red
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