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Ice is food according to the FDA. It seems a bit crazy since it is just frozen water but many times food borne illnesses can be traced to ice. Especially during the summer months proper handling of ice becomes extremely important for businesses providing ice or using ice for their products.

“Even though it’s just frozen water, ice can harbor pathogens just like any piece of romaine lettuce. So how can and should a convenience store or other retailer maintain ice safety in stores and throughout multiple locations? Here are a few easy steps.

Step 1: Buy safe ice

Some retailers prefer to buy packaged ice to mitigate risks posed by the improper handling of ice and regular cleaning required when using ice machines. When doing this, it’s important to buy this ice from the safest source…

Step 2: Handle all types of ice correctly

Even when using safe, packaged ice, the handling of this ice needs to be just as regimented as handling ice from an ice machine Where the scooping function alone is one of the primary vehicles of contamination…

Step 3: Clean and maintain ice machines and related equipment regularly

Taking a glance at inspection records for many foodservice facilities, it’s clear that ice machines are regularly cited for not meeting cleanliness standards—being dirty, harboring mold or having a misused ice scoop, for instance.

On average, the cleaning and sanitizing of ice machines should occur on a monthly, if not weekly, basis, in high-use, humid or dusty environments. If these standards are not laid out by the manufacturer or installer, it’s up to the retailer to set them and conduct the proper training and cleanliness checks to make sure they are met…”

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