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Avoiding Food Poisoning
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Avoiding Food Poisoning
Ice Safety


There is no better time to talk about ice than in the summer
months. In many references, ice is defined as a “food” that
means the water used to make the ice must be from a safe
source and the bagged ice manufacturing company must follow good manufacturing practices, packaging and storage
procedures. If you make your own ice, your machine must be
properly maintained and sanitary. You must also transport,
store, dispense, or handle ice with the utmost care to prevent
contamination of that final frozen condiment.

Ice can cause sickness
The majority of the consuming public does not realize that you can get very sick from contaminated ice. As we know, ice is “frozen water”, but just because it is a frozen food, that does not mean it cannot contain harmful bacteria or viruses.
Salmonella, E. coli, and Shigella all survived in a study of ice cubes mixed with a cola drink, alcohol and water, or fruit juices. Viruses also survive in ice cubes, the noroviruses can wreak havoc in the frozen crystals. In 1987, 5,000 people fell ill after consuming contaminated ice in soft drink and alcoholic beverages in an outbreak in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Norovirus was the culprit. Mishandling ice is a common source of contamination. Recorded outbreaks traced back to infected food workers have included typhoid fever, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, and E. coli 0157:H7.


The safety of the consumed ice
Ice produced and sold in convenience stores, supermarkets, gas stations, liquor stores, and
other retail outlets, as well as the ice consumed daily from ice machines in restaurants, hospitals,
and hotels, etc. can be unsafe. Many of these on-premise operations receive no proper monitoring and inspection.

Even when ice machines are inspected, it is often found that these machines are not cleaned and
sanitized very often, if ever in some cases. Mould and slime build up inside them, allowing bacteria to grow and contaminate the ice product. Study after study shows that “dirty ice” is more common than you might think.
Clean, risk-free ice
In order to maintain the safety of the ice, ice machines should be cleaned and sanitized at least
once a week in ice packing companies who should provide separate, controlled packaging areas
and correct labeling if selling retail ice. As for food service, here’s some additional
recommendations for safer ice:
Wash your hands prior to do any tasks to handle ice. This includes a 20 second hand washing
with soap and water after using the restroom, sneezing or coughing, handling other foods, doing
cleaning tasks, or contaminating hands in any way.
Ice machines must also be delimed and professionally cleaned  few times a year. Potable water that is properly filtered at the inlet to the ice machine will keep your machine cleaner.
Never nest multiple ice buckets. Proper transfer buckets should be stored inverted in a sanitary
area. At the ice machine, store large ice scoops in a sanitary receptacle on the outside of the
machine. Proper stainless steel or plastic ice scoops should be used fitted with protected handles
in order to avoid hands contact with ice.
At the dispensing ice bin, clean and sanitize the ice bin daily and store the ice scoop in the ice
with the handle up or on a clean, dry surface. Shut the cover on the bin while not in use. Never
use a breakable glass as an ice scoop.
If you fill a hopper for automatic dispensing to customers, clean and sanitize the hopper daily
and keep it properly covered.
Ice machines and bins must never be directly plumbed to the sewer system. There must be an “air gap” on the drain of the machine or bin. That way, the sewer system can never back up into your ice storage units.
If using ice for chilling sealed containers of food or beverages, do not use that ice again for
human consumption in drinks.
Dedicated ice only containers and utensils that will allow you keep ice protected sanitary and
your customers safe are available in the market and Boecker Food Safety would be glad to
help you.
 
 
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