Ice Machine Safety
Sanitary Ice At Your Restaurant
Safety Protocols For Ice Machines
Is the ice in your machine safe for public consumption? Beverage service is provided with every meal in your restaurant. Coffee, juice, tea, soft drinks, and a simple glass of water with ice are served to every person who visits your dining establishment. When was the last time you checked to see if the ice is free from contamination threats? If you can't remember then it's absolutely been too long.
Main Auction Services here in Dallas is asking the hard questions to you as a restaurant owner. Keeping it real is a great way to make sure you have the latest in ice production equipment. Late model, new, and used restaurant equipment is our specialty. Ice machines of all types, sizes, and manufacturers are available here every week. Ice may not be caloric or a line item on your restaurant menu, but it is consumed by your restaurant guests and comes with it's own variety of food safety challenges.
Here are some helpful tips about how your restaurant, cafe, bar, hospital, school cafeteria, or college campus student union building can reduce contamination threats specific to this beverage element.
Ice Machine Best Accepted Practices:
- Always remove ice with a designated scoop, preferably plastic so it may be placed in the dish machine weekly. When preparing drinks, one must never capture ice directly with bare hands or a glass. Instead, use a designated scoop and avoid letting any part of the handle touch the ice. Many ice machines have a slot with a chain or lanyard which is a great help.
- It is possible to store the scoop outside the ice supply. Laying an ice scoop inside an ice machine or an ice-filled bin can introduce pathogens without a staff member realizing it. When the scoop is not being utilized, keep it covered and contained in an enclosed compartment. Both the scoop and the compartment are food-contact surfaces, so clean and sanitize them regularly, as you would tongs for drink garnishes or a cutting board.
- Remember to designate specific equipment for hauling ice. If you haul a large quantity of ice from one area of your restaurant to another – for example, from the back-of-house to the front-of-house – use foodsafe bins that are made specifically for this task. Most are 3 to 5 gallons in size and are clear in color or have writing that states Ice on them. Never transport ice in a container that has been used to store chemicals or raw meat, seafood or poultry.
- While most ice machines have doors that lift up or slide, it is possible that an open ice supply could be compromised. If glass breaks anywhere near an exposed ice supply, dispose of the ice. Glass can strongly resemble ice and cause serious injury to guests and staff. Be sure to immediately dispose of the potentially contaminated ice, and make sure that it is cleaned, sanitized and logged as such on inventory sheets or on a bin that houses the ice.
- In many restaurants, there is a separate ice source for drinks from ice used keep food cold. If your restaurant stores any food or beverage containers on ice for temperature control, please make sure that your entire staff knows that ice is not to be incorporated into drinks. Pathogens and contamination can happen from the food or beverage containers can infiltrate the surrounding ice, which could potentially cause food borne illness if then served to guests.
- Late model ice machines have filters at all supply points. At the exterior connection, interior water supply and coming into the ice machine. If you have a maintenance contract it is possible that this chore is already taken care of. If you are not sure, check into it.
- Clean and sanitize all ice machines regularly. Often moist and dark, ice machines can collect dirt and foster mold; and if a health inspector finds either in your machine, a violation will likely be issued to you. Ice machines are considered food-contact surfaces, so staff must clean and sanitize them regularly. Commission a licensed plumbing professional to service piping leading into the machine as well as the machine’s drain; failing to do so can lead to harmful back-flow. There are also after market purchases for filters are available as well.
Call us today at any of our 3 locations in Texas: 1718 West Main Street • Grand Prairie, Texas 75050 • 972-642-0513,
12922 Hempstead Hwy • Houston, Texas 77040 • 713-690-1231,
2100 E Union Bower Road • Irving, Texas 75061 • 972-579-4612.
Whether you need to buy or sell one piece, or the contents of an entire restaurant, Main Auction Services is your resource for late-model restaurant, bakery and bar equipment. Call today to speak with a restaurant equipment specialists.