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Stine Lønnerup Bislev
Stine Lønnerup Bislev
Previous Hygiene and Compliance Manager at Vikan

Avoid the colour-coding pitfalls

Previous blog posts have covered why it’s important to colour code your cleaning equipment and food-handling tools and how to set up a colour-coding programme. This blog post focuses on how you avoid the worst potential pitfalls of a new colour-coding system.

Sometimes there aren’t enough people involved in the planning process, and that can impede the implementation process. By involving your management team, purchasing agents and line workers from the very beginning, you ensure their acceptance and buy-in from the start – so that the whole plan gets implemented better.

When decisions are made too quickly, problems may crop up later. Your colour coding should be planned carefully, taking into account the specific requirements of your facility, processes and people – as well as auditor requirements. Adjust your plan as you work to make sure it fits the exact needs of your plant and your processes.

Thorough, company-wide training is also critical to ensure that your team – at all levels in your organisation – have the knowledge necessary to carry out your plan correctly. Organise training early, so your employees know how to work with colour coding from the start.

Please follow the advice of 
your local authorities on the
use of face masks.

A colour-coding system that is too complex can cause confusion, with the result that your employees either ignore the system or don’t implement it properly and effectively. A colour-coding system works best when it is as simple as possible, so we recommend restricting your colour-coding plan to as few colours as possible. Keeping it simple helps everyone understand the plan – and stick to it.

In some cases, the colours chosen don’t provide sufficient contrast with the food products involved. Selecting colours that contrast clearly with the food, so it’s easier to see foreign bodies (bristles or plastic fragments), will result in better food safety and quality.

We all know that purchasing departments always tend to look for the cheapest options, be they raw materials or equipment. Sometimes the cheapest option will work – but a low initial investment often leads to long-term costs because equipment needs to be replaced more frequently and can increase the risk of food product contamination. Make sure your purchasing agents understand the long-term requirements and the food safety and quality implications, so they make the best decisions right from the beginning.

In the corporate world , it’s often easy to have too much focus on the “big picture”. While it’s important to keep the big picture in mind, your colour-coding solution must above all be practical. When designing your plan and selecting equipment, make sure to ask detailed questions like:

  • Will the tool work in practice?
  • Is it durable enough?
  • Is it hygienically designed?
  • Is it food contact compliant and accompanied by the appropriate documentation?
  • How easy is it to store?

A Vikan representative can help you avoid these pitfalls when you call to arrange a Site Survey, after which we will develop a custom-designed colour-coding plan to make your operation as efficient, safe, hygienic – and pitfall free – as possible.

Learn more about colour-coding

Learn more about site surveys