All About Blue Plasters

All About Blue Plasters
17 August 2022

All About Blue Plasters

Why are plasters blue?

Have you ever wondered why blue plasters exist? What are blue plasters used for? And why do chefs wear blue plasters?

We’re all familiar with plasters, using them throughout our lives to cover up cuts, grazes, and blisters to promote healing. You’ll usually find them in flesh tones or colourful ones for kids, but do you know why blue plasters are used in a kitchen? The answer is that blue plasters are used in kitchens so that you can spot them easily if your plaster falls in the food you’re making. They’re an essential safety measure in all food handling.

Chef in kitchen appling plaster

If you’ve ever worked in catering environments, including restaurant kitchens or food production facilities, you will know why blue plasters are used around food and how important they are. We cover everything you need to know about blue plasters, including the legislation behind them, the best ones to use, and where to buy blue plasters you can rely on.

Why must plasters worn in the kitchen be coloured: The Law

Food handlers in professional kitchens are required by law to follow personal hygiene procedures before, during and after all food preparation processes. This is to maximise food safety standards and reduce the risk of contamination or the spread of infection to the people consuming the food. Good personal hygiene among food handlers, including blue plasters, will directly affect consumers, whether it’s a takeaway pizza, grab-and-go sandwich, or luxury meal in a restaurant. 

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) states that:

​​"It is vital for staff to follow good personal hygiene practices to help prevent bacteria from spreading to food."

Some of the personal hygiene measures food handlers have to follow include:

  • Rigorous and regular handwashing using antibacterial soap.
  • Wearing appropriate clothes, preferably with a clean apron.
  • Do not wear watches or jewellery, apart from a single wedding band. If you have jewellery you can’t remove, cover it with blue-coloured PE Tape to prevent it from contaminating food items.
  • Tie your hair back and/or wear a suitable hair covering, including a beard cover in some cases.
  • Do not smoke, drink, eat, bite your nails, or chew gum while handling food. 
  • Avoid touching their face or nose or coughing and sneezing over or near food; they must wash their hands if they do.

So why are blue plasters used in the food industry? 

As part of the Food Safety Act 1990, legislation to cover “the observance of hygienic conditions and practices in connection with the carrying out of commercial operations with respect to food” means that all food businesses are required to ensure that their staff:

"Tell their manager if they have any cuts or sores and these should be completely covered with a brightly coloured waterproof dressing."

The FSA explains why:

"Cuts and sores can carry harmful bacteria. Covering them prevents bacteria spreading to food. Coloured waterproof dressings can be seen more easily if they drop into food."

So, all wounds should be covered with a waterproof plaster in a “visible” colour so they can be easily spotted if they fall off. Spotting a displaced plaster in good time will prevent used, unclean medical material from entering the food chain and potentially contaminating an entire batch of food. This keeps consumers safe and reduces the risk and cost to food producers, as batch recalls can be costly if there is a concern that foods have been contaminated, rendering them unsellable.

Our Sterochef blue plasters contain a detectable aluminium strip above the padded dressing layer inside. This is to help food producers who use automatic detection devices to scan all food products before distribution. While detectable metal strips in catering plasters are not required by UK law, they are advised as an additional safety measure.

So, what colour plaster should you wear in a kitchen?

Why do you use blue plasters in cooking specifically? Food handlers use blue plasters almost universally. This is because blue is the colour most unlikely to match the colour of the food being prepared, so it will stand out and is the easiest to spot, even at a distance. Regular, flesh-coloured plasters found in most first aid kits are too similar a colour to most foods, so they could easily be missed. 

Blue is also a highly visible colour when worn, so the wearer is more likely to notice that their plaster has come off and can begin to check it has not entered the food chain in good time.

Chef knives and red pepper on green chopping board

In the event of a blue plaster coming off and being found in or on food, that food must be disposed of immediately. Another blue plaster should be applied to the wound, and a pair of food-safe disposable gloves can be worn to reduce the risk of food contamination occurring again.

Where can I buy blue plasters?

So now you know what colour plasters must be used during food preparation and the risks associated with losing one, it’s essential to choose high-quality blue plasters that will protect your staff and your consumers every time.

Steroplast has created the optimal blue plasters for all chefs and food handlers. Our Sterochef Blue Plasters are hypoallergenic and wash-proof, and are coated with a long-lasting medical-grade, high-tack adhesive that will keep them in place safely. And, in the event that they do come off and fall into the food chain, an additional safety measure has been included. 

Sterochef blue plasters contain a 100% aluminium foil (20µm) strip that’s laminated to one side of the non-woven absorbent pad. This means that they are electro-magnetically detectable, so when food is scanned before distribution, any plaster contaminating a batch or food item will show up during quality control procedures. This ensures there is no risk of sending out unsafe food and triggering a costly batch recall. 

Sterochef blue plasters are available in a range of shapes, sizes and quantities so you can stock up on exactly what your food business needs.

Steroplast has also developed other food safety compliant Sterochef products for food handlers and chefs recovering from an injury. Choose the Sterochef blue elasticated tubular bandage for gentle compression, hold larger dressings in place over limbs, or support joints. Our Sterochef blue PE strapping is a blue-coloured plastic adhesive tape for wrapping around jewellery, clothing or dressings to prevent them from falling into food. For more information on kitchen first aid equipment, including what is in our Sterochef Catering First Aid Kit, check out our blog.

So now we’ve covered why plasters are blue in food environments; it’s worth noting that we stock a wide range of plasters to suit your every need.

Premium Elastic Fabric Plasters

Designed to stay on for longer with the same comfort and cover, these plasters provide extra protection and durability. They were recently voted best in the UK by Which? watchdog.

Steroflex Stretch Fabric Plasters

A comprehensive range of fabric plasters with zinc oxide adhesive is ideal for any first aid kit. Choose this smaller retail pack for personal home use.

Sterostrip Hypoallergenic Washproof Plasters

Hypoallergenic washproof plasters in an assortment of shapes and sizes. They are latex-free and suitable for children and people with sensitive skin. They will remain in place even when wet. This smaller pack offers the same great benefits.

Sterostrip Clear Washproof Plasters

Discreet, colourless hypoallergenic washproof plasters. Also safe for use on children and sensitive skin. This smaller pack offers similar benefits.

Steroplast Adhesive Dressing Strips

Premium fabric washproof dressing strips that are larger than most plasters so they can cover a larger wound area comfortably. This smaller retail pack contains dressing strips that can be cut to the size needed, too. Alternatively, choose our large plasters for a flexible wound dressing that’s safe to use on children.

We also stock:

  • Hydrocolloid Plasters are safe to use on minor burns, scalds, and cuts.
  • Cushioned Plasters that provide padding for sensitive areas. Check out our blog to learn all about hydrocolloid plasters.
  • Blister Cushions are near invisible, hypoallergenic plasters that seal blisters under a protective hydrogel cushion to promote healing.

We provide lots more helpful information about plasters on our blog.

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