Having safe, nice (not naughty) ice is paramount in any foodservice business, as recent headlines highlight the fact that some operators are falling short of ensuring that their ice is all it’s cracked up to be.
When times are busy, it is all too easy for ice machine management and operator’s personal hygiene to be overlooked.
Latest research findings by leading ice machine manufacturer, Ice-O-Matic, supports this fact. According to a recent survey, undertaken by the company amongst foodservice professionals, a surprisingly high number of operators did not clean their ice machines regularly as per manufacturer’ recommendations. And 40% didn’t know how often they did – or, how often they should – clean their machines.
Adam Lenton, marketing manager for Ice-O-Matic UK, explains the impact this can have on the ice served and what measures Ice-O-Matic machines have imbedded to help prevent such dangerous outcomes:
“Ice and the cleanliness of it shouldn’t be taken for granted, poor levels of hygiene in ice can affect customers as badly as those from poor food hygiene practices.
“The majority of operators are diligent around the cleanliness and quality of their ice but, the fact remains that a worrying number do not clean their machines as often as they should and have limited knowledge around what is acceptable or what the manufacturer recommendations actually are,” he says.
“Operators simply have to keep on top of the problem – proper and regular cleaning is vital. However, manufacturers can help too, for example, Ice-O-Matic offers a ground-breaking device – the 03-Matic (Ozone) which infuses ozone into incoming water, killing microbes on every surface it touches and retarding future growth to diminish mould, mildew, bacteria and viruses.
“In addition, all our machines have innovative built-in antimicrobial protection (the AgION antibacterial compound) which is permanently integrated into the essential food-zone area for the life of the ice maker, which maintains the food safety of the ice between regular cleaning cycles and safeguarding the sanitation of the ice-making system,” says Lenton.
“Going one step further, our new Elevation series of ice machines have been cleverly designed and are the ultimate in food safety. One touch cleaning is revolutionising operators time and resource – that is all it takes to de-scale and sanitise a machine and LED signals clearly indicate when cleaning is required. The smooth, solid Food Zone allows for quick wipe down for everyday cleaning, and dishwasher-safe components easily snap off and on.
“These features, coupled with our easy access storage bins and easy tool-free removal of key parts aids, enables quick and easy cleaning to maintain the all-important hygiene standards.”
Ice-O-Matic’s research also went onto find that around a third of consumers have concerns when it comes to the levels of bacteria that may be present in the ice they get served when dining and drinking out, with over 30% saying it put them off having ice altogether.