Health Department - Environmental
Ice From Machines - Health Safety Tips
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has traced
numerous outbreaks of illness to the use of contaminated
ice. Although ice can become contaminated through a variety
of circumstances, including microorganisms in the potable
water supply, the most likely causes of ice contamination
are poor handling and storage practices. Because ice machines
are widely used in the food service industry, it is essential
for food service personnel to be familiar with the health
and safety precautions that pertain to the use and maintenance
of ice machines.
do not readily multiply in foods below 46 ° F (8 ° C).
Research has shown, however, that certain bacteria and viruses
can survive freezing for many hours and can remain viable
in strong alcoholic drinks. It is therefor important that
ice not become contaminated by food handlers, dirty utensils,
or airborne particles.
the likelihood that ice will become a vehicle for foodborne
illness, food service managers and personnel should know
that the most likely sources of ice contamination are: 1)
inadequate cleaning of icemaking machines or equipment and
2) poor hygiene practices when the ice is handle. Taking
the following precaution can greatly reduce the risk that
ice will become contaminated.
ice machine should be connected directly to a wholesome
main water supply.
ice machine should be located in an area free of dirt and
dust, preferably off the ground and away from any heat
and ventilation around the machine should be sufficient
to provide good air movement.
usually give servicing instructions in their information
manuals. Most machines require servicing at least twice
ice storage compartment should be cleaned regularly (at
least every two weeks) to prevent bacteria growth. It also
should be monitored for scum or lime buildup. If growth
become apparent, the compartment should be cleaned immediately
according to the manufacturer's instructions: The ice should
be removed and the compartment cleaned with bicarbonate
of soda, a residual-free sanitizer, or a solution of vinegar
and water. This step should be followed by a thorough rinse.
ice that has been removed from the machine to allow for
cleaning should be disposed of. It should not be returned
to the ice machine.
exterior surfaces of the machine - particularly the door
or hatch of the storage compartment - must be kept clean.
Handling, Storage, and Service of Ice
should wash and dry their hands thoroughly before dispensing
ice from the machine. The ice always should be removed
with a clean utensil such as a scoop - hands should never
be used. A glass tumbler is not suitable; if the glass
gets chipped or broken while ice is being removed from
the storage compartment, glass fragments could get lost
inside the machine.
scoop should be smooth and kept on a chain short enough
so the scoop cannot touch the floor. When not in use, it
should be stored in sanitizer solution (not left in the
machine), which should be changed regularly. Both the scoop
and the container it is kept in should be located in a
using the scoop, it should be held by the handle only,
other parts of the scoop should not be touched.
door or hatch of the ice machine should be kept closed
except when ice being dispensed from the machine.
ice compartment of the machine should not be used to store
bottles of beer, cans of soft drinks, cartons of milk,
or any other items.
- If ice
is stored in ice buckets, the buckets must have lids. Also,
ice buckets should be kept behind the bar, accessible to
staff alone, so customers do not handle the ice with their
buckets and serving utensils must be regularly cleaned
and sanitized. The ice remaining in an ice bucket at closing
time should be disposed of - not returned to the ice machine.
proceeding with any cleaning operation, verify that the
machine's electrical power supply is switched off and that
the water line is closed.
the FOOD environment news digest, Fall 1999.