Food preparation is a universal language that speaks to us all. It’s an art form with its own unique set of tools and techniques, each playing an important role in the process of crafting a delicious dish.

One of the most important elements of food safety is color-coded cutting boards, which allow chefs and home cooks to safely prepare multiple ingredients at once. These boards are essential for avoiding cross-contamination and protecting diners from food-borne illnesses.

In this article, we’ll examine the importance of using cutting boards with color codes and discuss how they can be used to keep kitchens safe.

The Importance Color-Coded Cutting Boards

When it comes to food safety, one of the most important steps that should be taken is avoiding cross-contamination. This means making sure that different food groups are kept separate and that tools, equipment, and hands are all properly sanitized between uses.

Color-coded cutting boards are an excellent way of helping to ensure this happens. Not only do they provide a visual cue when it comes to which board is used for which food group, but they also help with allergen awareness, so that ingredients can be safely prepared in a commercial kitchen without fear of cross-contamination.

Color-coded cutting boards allow for an easy system for organizing and preparing food items in the kitchen. With a quick glance at the board, anyone in the kitchen can see which items need to be cut on each board and make sure that different foods don’t mix together. 

This helps not only with preventing cross-contamination but also with ensuring allergens are handled properly and that everyone in the kitchen is aware of what ingredients are being used.

Transitioning into using these boards in a commercial kitchen may seem daunting at first, but it’s well worth the effort for peace of mind when serving customers.

For home cooks using color-coded cutting boards is a great way to stay organized and make food preparation easier. It’s a great way to teach children about the importance of food safety and to introduce them to proper kitchen organization. 

Color-coded boards can also help home cooks avoid cross-contamination between raw meats and other foods. By utilizing this system home cooks can quickly and easily keep their kitchens safe and organized.

Using Color-Coded Cutting Boards

Using color-coded cutting boards is an essential part of keeping your kitchen safe and clean. It ensures that there is no cross-contamination between different types of foods, so you can prepare meals with confidence.

Here is an overview of color-coded cutting boards:

  • Red: Raw meat
  • Yellow: Raw poultry
  • Blue: Fish and Seafood
  • White: Dairy and bakery
  • Green: Fruits and vegetables
  • Brown: Cooked food
  • Purple: Free from products (Ex. Gluten-free)

The purple cutting board is a newer color to this system. If you are preparing free-form products like gluten-free bread, it is recommended to use a purple board. This is not just good practice, but it may also help to avoid allergic reactions for people with allergies or special diets.


You may find varying guidelines on cutting board colors and their uses, however, as long as you know which cutting board colors are used for which foods then you can use whatever system you’d like and safely avoid cross-contamination in your kitchen.

Can You Use The Wrong Color Cutting Board For Cooking Tasks?

This is a question I hear when newer cooks learn about color-coded cutting boards for the first time: “Can you use the wrong color cutting board for cooking tasks?”

Using a cutting board of the wrong color increases the risk of cross-contamination considerably. Utensil safety is paramount in any professional or home kitchen to ensure that food stays safe and hygienic. Professional chefs should most definitely abide by the color-coded system.

However, for home cooks, as long as you know which food groups are used on each cutting board and you take extra steps to ensure there is not any cross-contamination then you can use whatever cutting board you’d like. 

For example, if you are seldom preparing raw meat then it doesn’t matter which cutting board you use as long as you clean it thoroughly after use (which you should always do).

Food safety should always be taken seriously, so it is a best practice to keep each type of food on its own designated cutting board. This way you can reduce the chances of any nasty bacteria lingering on your ingredients.

Do Chefs Have To Use Color-Coded Chopping Boards By Law?

There is no law that indicates that professional chefs must follow the color-coded cutting board system. However, the system is commonly followed by commercial chefs as it’s the best way to keep their customers safe.

Our Pick

San Jamar Saf-T-Grip 6-Piece Cutting Board Set



  • Doesn’t slip on the countertop
  • Convenient hooks for easy storage
  • Long-lasting and warp-resistant
  • Very easy to clean


  • Not recommended for the dishwasher
  • More expensive than other options
San Jamar Saf-T-Grip Plastic Cutting Board Set with Safety Hook

In Summary

Using color-coded cutting boards is incredibly beneficial when it comes to preparing food. Not only do they help to avoid cross-contamination, but they also make it easier for home cooks to stay organized. Color-coded cutting boards can be found in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, making it easy to find one that suits your needs. 

As someone who has been cooking for a long time, I find using this system incredibly useful in my kitchen. It’s helped save me time and energy and ensures that food preparation is done safely and hygienically. Therefore, I highly recommended that home cooks make use of color-coded cutting boards whenever possible in their kitchens.