The idea that germs cannot survive at freezing point is a misconception. According to a study by the University of Texas, ice cubes dispensed from a dirty ice machine can contain germs like E.coli, Salmonella, and Shillelagh, which can cause severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. In fact, there was an incident in which more than 5000 people became ill because they had contaminated ice in their drinks.
Food stores, including bakeries, fish markets, and grocery stores, require a consistent supply of clean ice. Ice isn’t only the backbone of cold displays but also plays an important role in keeping the drinks chilled and the customers happy. As a grocery store owner, your number one priority should be to ensure a reliable ice supply that meets the business’s requirements and is germ-free. Keep reading to learn the best practices to keep your grocery store ice machines clean and hygienic.
1. Choosing the Right Ice-Making Equipment
For drink dispensers and self-service ice, touchless ice machines are the perfect pick as they require no human contact to take out the ice. Compared to touchless ice makers, the traditional ones require you to pull down a lever or push a button, increasing the spread of germs. So, if you are planning to add an ice machine in a high-traffic area, getting an automatic, touchless ice machine is the wise decision.
2. Cleaning Grocery Store Ice Machine
It is important to check the ice maker regularly for the presence of slime or debris. While dipping a towel in a bowl of sanitizer and wiping the interior and exterior surfaces of the ice machine is the standard practice, we recommend the following guide:
- Apply a disinfecting solution and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Spray the surface with clean water and wipe the disinfectant.
- Now spray a sanitizing solution and let it air dry.
In case you see a strange and sticky black, brown, green, or pink colored substance inside your ice machine, get it inspected by a professional right away.
3. Grocery Store Ice Maker Rules
Bacteria like to grow in damp, dark places, which makes ice bins the perfect germ habitat. This is precisely why it is important to ensure that your employees follow the below-mentioned instructions to the tee:
- Always sanitize your hands before using the ice machine.
- Don’t refill use cups. Instead, use a clean new cup every time.
- Never dump any drink into the tray of the dispenser unless and until it comes out of the ice machine.
- Never leave the ice door open.
- Never drink or eat while taking out ice.
- Sanitize your hands before using the ice machine.
- Always wear a mask before scooping ice from the ice maker.
- Avoid stacking ice transport buckets.
Hire an LA ICE MACHINE Professional for Ice Maker Maintenance
Follow the guidelines above to prevent bacteria from infecting your ice and your customers. Train your employees so that they can keep an eye out for any safety concerns and act before contamination spreads.