The Importance of Meeting Color Standards in the Food Industry

We may not think much about the color of our foods, but this characteristic is valuable to the industry. Color can communicate a food item’s safety, and it can create a safe environment for food production. Meeting color standards in the food industry is possible with the right tools, and at HunterLab, we have the right products for the job.

USDA Color Standards for Food

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) uses color to determine many foods’ safety and health, from produce to frozen french fries. The organization provides color charts for agricultural and food processing operations to compare their products to. A critical part of this process is having the proper equipment, like a spectrophotometer.

Food colors can communicate many characteristics of an item. They can show:

  • Refrigeration
  • Temperature variation
  • Color content
  • pH levels

Color-Coding and Prevention

A significant reason for cross-contamination in food processing is reusing tools for different jobs. For example, handling raw hamburger and using the same tool for post-cooking can cause a transfer of allergens.

With color-coded equipment, operations can make a clear distinction between tools and their processing areas. Color-coding is easy to communicate to workers with posters posted around the area. It’s also a simple form of communication for any language. This practice is excellent for preventing cross-contamination between:

  • Functions
  • Allergens
  • Departments

In food processing, color-coding has grown increasingly common with new regulations from Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) standards and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). These standards aim to reduce and eliminate a range of hazards in food processing, with color-coding being a significant safety measure.

READ  How to Apply Your Color Analysis in Quality Control of Coffee

It’s valuable to note that color blindness may affect a small percentage of workers. To avoid any confusion, stick to bold, drastically different colors to make differences clear to everyone.

Color Measurement for Conformity

Color measurement is valuable for conformity to color standards in the food industry. While the USDA may offer regulations for produce, color regulations exist in all types of foods. These color standards are essential for safety, and they’re valuable to consumers.

We all have expectations for how food should look, and we’re only willing to buy food products when they meet these ideas. Color can be a significant indicator to consumers that a food item is not worth buying. With lighting and angles affecting how a person perceives color, using the right measurement tools is critical for consistency and conformity in production.

One way to measure the exact color in a food item is with spectrophotometers. These devices determine a ratio of reflected light between an undefined color and a comparative sample. Rather than relying on the human eye, these machines offer a scientific approach to color measurement, allowing operations to make precise comparisons between their products and the available color-coding.

Meet Color Standards in the Food Industry

At HunterLab, our extensive selection of spectrophotometers helps food operations determine color on a scientific level. Explore our products or reach out to our team to learn more.

READ  What Is a Calibration Curve in a Spectrophotometer?