According to the FDA, ice is considered food, so it’s possible for ice to carry foodborne illnesses just like meat and other foods do. While not many people are aware of ice contamination, it’s real, and it does have serious health consequences.
If a restaurant or a café doesn’t follow the guidelines and safety codes, ice contamination can affect their customers’ health. A common reason for ice contamination is unsanitary ice machines due to a lack of proper maintenance and cleaning.
Read on to learn more about ice contamination and tips on preventing it.
Germs and Ice
While ice cubes don’t attract germs as other food items do due to the temperature difference, it’s still possible for ice to carry germs if stored in a dirty bucket or unsanitary storage.
Most food items carry germs like bacteria or viruses, but since ice doesn’t have any organic material, it’s pretty much bacteria-free.
If stored in an unsanitary bucket, ice cubes can become prone to germs that can cause E. coli and viruses such as norovirus. These are two of the most common germs that affect the food and hospitality industry and lead to food and safety violations.
If food handlers don’t wash their hands or don’t wash utensils carrying ice, it can lead to ice contamination.
Among other pathogens, there’s also Legionella, a waterborne organism that is transferred through inhalation. Although it’s rare for ice cubes to carry such diseases, it’s still possible.
Ice Contamination Prevention
To prevent ice contamination, keep the ice bucket clean, use the proper ice handling process, and keep the ice machine clean and well-maintained.
Ice Handling Procedure
Before anything, make sure that your family members or your employees are handling the ice machine rental that it should be handled.
Every person using the ice maker should have clean and sanitized hands, especially after using the lavatory.
Moreover, the ice machine shouldn’t be used with hands or glass items. Avoid skin contact with ice cubes and use a special utensil for the ice supply.
As the name entails, the ice bin should only be used for ice and nothing else. Make sure that your employees at the restaurant are not using the ice bin for other purposes.
Designate one ice bin for the ice and don’t use the container even for other food items.
Ice Machine Maintenance
Ice machines require regular maintenance due to dirt buildup on the inside. Cleaning the filters and ice buckets regularly will keep the germs away from the ice and reduce the chances of ice contamination.
If you’re looking for a reliable and trustworthy ice machine rental service in LA, you’re in the right place! At LA Ice Machine, we have an extensive ice machine rental program, including ice machine installation, ice machine maintenance, repair, and more!