Nelson's Guide to Ice Makers: Ice Storage and Hygiene

Posted by Sara Malcom on

It might not be immediately obvious, but ice is actually a frozen food made by a food production ice machine and then stored in an unrefrigerated container! Seeing the process for what it is makes it easy to understand why a careful, well-planned regime is crucially important in preventing contamination as ice can harbor many bacteria and viruses and become a source of serious food poisoning. 

Some of the more common germs might include: 

  • Norovirus

  • E.coli

  • Salmonella

  • Hepatitis A

  • Legionnaire’s Disease

Siting

The correct positioning of an ice maker is a key consideration. Air borne bacteria can thrive in damp and unventilated areas so it’s best to avoid keeping your ice machine in cellars or closed off spaces. If there really is no other option, make sure you choose an icemaker with a completely airtight door.

Usage

Ice contamination usually occurs after the ice has been made. Therefore, clean ice scoops and buckets carefully and regularly and never keep an ice scoop in the ice machine container as the handle could well carry microbes from the operator’s hands. Instead, make sure you store the scoop in a clean container outside of the ice maker bin. Ice might look clean, but appearances can be deceptive.  

Maintenance

  • Ensure all staff are aware of the dangers of contamination and understand how to prevent it.

  • Empty the ice maker bin completely at least once a week and clean and sanitise with a proprietary cleaning fluid followed by thorough rinsing.

  • Ensure all objects in contact with the ice - such as scoops, tongs and buckets - are also cleaned throughout the day.

  • Move ice storage vessels away from customer reach.

  • Make regular checks to ensure the machine is in good condition - especially the ice bin door.

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