Is Your Ice Clean?

4 min read

People stress about the cleanliness of food during cooking and preparation, but they never consider the purity of the ice they put in their cold drinks. People assume that since ice is frozen water, it is free from impurities.

Along with misconceptions such as bacteria and germs not surviving freezing, people think that ice does not have the same risks as those that come with water and food. However, certain bacteria can survive and reproduce in icy conditions, and ice storage facilities and ice machines can be potential areas where bacteria, fungi, and viruses can survive.

So how do you know your ice is clean?

Ice Contamination is Possible

Ice contamination also happens, though it is rare for it to cause serious illness or disease. However, for any public establishment, it’s best to ensure the cleanliness of every equipment and machine in use, including its ice machines and ice maker filters.

Another way ice can be contaminated is when the ice maker filter needs to be replaced. You would recognize this immediately when you see that the ice is cloudy instead of clear. Also if there’s an unusual taste or odor, it means there are now impurities in your filter (such as mold) and you need to replace it immediately.

Protect Your Water Supply

You should also make sure to protect your water supply from possible contamination. Find out about the quality of your water, such as hardness so you know how it can affect your filter systems. Scale buildup could destroy your equipment, which could lead to contamination.

There are tests that will assess the quality of your water, so you would know how much buildup you could expect if specific minerals are present in your supply.

Of course, hard water buildup is not dangerous and will not make your water unsafe for consumption. However, it can affect its taste when frozen into ice. There might be a metallic taste in your water, and for some people it might come off as unpleasant.

Consider a water softening system to remove the heavy minerals in your water supply. These can reduce the scale buildup in your plumbing and filter systems. Ice maker filters can also help in capturing minerals and contaminants in your water, but the ice will have a peculiar taste.

How to Serve Clean Ice

Another way to ensure the cleanliness and purity of the ice is to ensure that the ice machines are clean. This is the next possible area of contamination, and as most of the machines are wet and dark, it can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.

Give your ice machine a rest and complete cleaning after six months, and if you have an establishment such as a restaurant, bakery, or brewery, the cleaning should be more often. You can schedule professional cleaners to do the job, or if you have a limited budget, follow the recommendations and instructions in the manual.

Of course, it’s also important to clean the ice box or bin. Slime, mold, and sediment could accumulate in the bottom, which could become a hotbed for mold growth, bacteria, and germs. The ice box is often more exposed than others, and it could also come into close contact with utensils and hands. It’s best to clean these every week.

Maintenance is Key

Given that the purity of your ice supply relies a lot on your water supply, your water filter systems, and the tools you have in the kitchen, the most important thing is to ensure that all of these equipment are cleaned and maintained properly.

Make sure to check if your plumbing has no leaks and that your water supply’s integrity is not compromised. Changing ice maker filters at the appropriate time is the best way to make sure that the ice you’re serving your customers is clean.


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