Make sure your ice is not covered in bacteria!

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Classeq provides advice for busyCHEF Blog readers to make sure your ice is in tip-top condition to minimise the risk of contamination.

According to recent research by the Health Protection Agency, dirty ice is being served at almost one in three pubs, restaurants and coffee shops, putting the health of customers at risk.  Tests carried out on ice, ice machines and utensils carried out by the HPA at 88 establishments identified that 30% showed clear evidence of poor hygiene.

One of the major problems identified was the failure to clean machines and scoops used to fill glasses and cups, clearly not acceptable to the paying customer who are at risk.

Nick Burridge, Director of Sales at Classeq understand the risk but as he explains, “At Classeq we are the leading suppliers of the Ice-o-Matic ice machines in the UK which have every commercial ice making requirement covered, from coffee shop to busy pubs, bars and restaurants, from small under the counter machines to those with large storage bins, with ice options such as ice cubes, flaked ice and nuggets.”

 “Ice is defined as food and a requirement of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 is that it must be made, stored and handled so that it is not contaminated, and therefore the onus is on the staff and management to comply with the regulations,” Nick continues.

Clearly, there is an issue with contamination that occurs and there are three main causes of contamination:

1 – Physical contaminants such as dust, dirt, raw food, pests and people

2 – Chemical contaminants due to misuse of cleaning and maintenance chemicals

3 – Contaminated utensils such as scoops and other ice lifting utensils that come into contact with people, raw foods and other objects containing bacteria before touching the ice.

Nick continues, “There are some basic hygiene rules that need to be followed and below are twelve steps to reduce, and hopefully, eliminate the contamination of ice in an establishment.”

 1 – Connect the ice machine directly to the mains water supply, and avoid connecting to a water storage tank.

2 – Site the ice machine in a clean area away from possible sources of contamination such as bins, food preparation areas, chemicals etc.

3 – Always use the ice machine in accordance with the instructions supplied by the manufacturer

4 – Service the ice machine on a regular basis to ensure it is working appropriately and in hard water areas to ensure no limescale and other deposits are formed.

5 – Clean and sanitise the ice machine at least once a week, including the removal of any unused ice in the machine at the time.

6 – All utensils used to handle ice need to be cleaned and sanitised on a daily basis and checked to make sure they are not damaged.

7 – Use the correct chemicals to clean the machine, in accordance with the manufacturers instructions and to include non-abrasive cleaners, rinsing with clean, fresh water, wiping with a food safe antibacterial cleaner and rinsing thoroughly before reusing the machine.

8 – When using the ice machine, keep the lid closed whenever possible.

9 – Train staff how to use and clean the ice machine appropriately and ensure that all staff clearly understand the handling of edible ice.

10 – Maintain a good practice of personal hygiene and ensure that all staff clean their hands at all time before handling the ice scoops and ice should never be handled by hand.

11 – Never use the ice machine for storage of any other items.

12 – Keep a record of daily cleaning and maintenance ensure that this record is checked and that random spot-checks are undertaken to ensure that processes are followed appropriately.

Nick concludes, “Clearly the risk of ice contamination needs to be addressed but following a strict regime of training staff, cleaning equipment and maintaining best practice should help to  mitigate these risks and ensure that ice supplied is not contaminated and customers are left with a cool, refreshing, drink and no unexpected side effects.”

 Classeq offer a full range of ice machines to suit the needs of all establishments.   The Ice-o-Matic range enables easy, tool-free removal of key parts for maintaining hygiene standards providing quick and easy cleaning along with a manual self cleaning cycle to make cleaning and sanitising the machines easier.  Generous bin design allows for easy, ergonomic access to the ice for the operator and AgION antibacterial compound used to reduce harmful bacteria growth and maintain food safety between cleaning cycles.

Perfect for helping to minimise the risk of ice contamination.

With thanks to Classeq and Nick Burridge. Classeq ice makers are available at busyCHEF by clicking here.