The Two Most Important Factors in Ice Sanitation
Ice is food. Though it doesn't bring us nourishment, we often chew it. We chomp on it after finishing our beverages. We consume it more like food than a liquid (unless it melts first, of course).
So if we consume ice like food, we should also think of it as food in terms of safety and sanitation. Just like foods that spend extended periods of time in the Danger Zone, ice can also collect unwanted bacteria that can harm guests.
So if we can all agree that ice is food, let's consider the two most important factors to ensuring that ice stays safe.
Ice Sanitation Depends on These Two Factors
It's easy. Training and maintaining. Sanitary ice depends on training your staff and maintaining your equipment and processes.
Your people are ultimately the ones responsible for making sure everything goes correctly. Make sure they understand all the basics of ice sanitation including handwashing, the correct ways to scoop ice, and doing simple things like not putting unused ice back in a machine or storage area.
Another major part of ice cleanliness and safety to make sure glasses are never used for scooping ice. If even a single shard of glass makes its way into your ice storage area, the entire bin must be dumped and cleaned. Another basic best practice is to never store an ice scooper inside the ice storage area.
Consider listing out best practices, and post them on a sign somewhere near the machine.
Even with cleaning and maintenance, your people are the ones who will make it happen. Still, cleaning and maintaining ice making and storing equipment is so important, it deserves the same level of significance as your staff.
Ice machines should be regularly inspected and cleaned as specified by the manufacturer. Look for discolorations caused by things such as mold, and make sure these inspections are done on a consistent schedule. Calendar them out, and post charts that clearly specify staff responsibilities and expectations.
Clean and sanitize your equipment on the same type of schedule as inspection. Regardless of whether you find dirty areas or not, units should be cleaned and sterilized, and it needs to be done regularly.
There's a third thing to consider. The equipment.
The great news is there's equipment that can help staff training and sanitizing responsibilities easier. Our friends at Ice-O-Matic have developed ice sanitation equipment that will improve your ice program no matter what type of foodservice you provide.