Storage and Service Most food poisoning organisms do not readily multiply in foods below 8°C. However scientific research has shown that certain bacteria and viruses can survive freezing for many hours and can also remain viable in very strong alcoholic drinks. It is therefore important that ice does not become contaminated by airborne particles, food handlers or from dirty utensils. The most likely sources of contamination of ice are inadequate cleaning of the ice making machine or equipment and poor hygiene practices when handling ice. In order to reduce the risk of ice being a source of infection to customers and staff working in public houses and restaurants, management should be aware of the following points. Water Supply The ice machine should be connected to a “direct” wholesome mains water supply. Hygienic Handling, Storage and Service of Ice The person dispensing ice from the machine should wash and dry their hands thoroughly before starting this task. The ice should always be removed from the machine using a clean utensil such as a scoop. Hands should never be used. A glass tumbler is not suitable because of the risk of glass fragments being lost inside the machine if the glass is chipped or broken whilst removing ice from the storage compartment. Both the scoop and the container in which it is kept in a clean place. The scoop should be stored in sanitiser solution which should be regularly changed. The scoop should not be left in the machine. After use it must be returned to its place in a container of sanitiser solution. The door/hatch of the ice machine should be kept closed unless ice being dispensed from the machine. The ice compartment of the machine should not be used for the storage of bottles of beer, cans of soft drinks, cartons of milk or any other items. If ice is stored in ice buckets, lids should always be used. Ice buckets should be kept behind the bar, where staff alone can serve ice, to avoid customers handling ice with bare hands. Ice buckets and serving utensils must be regularly cleaned and sanitised. The ice remaining in the ice buckets at closing time should be disposed of, and should not be returned to the ice machine. Machine Location The machine should be sited in an area that is free from dirt and dust, preferably off the ground and away from any sources of heat. Machine Servicing Most manufactures give servicing instructions in their information manuals. Most machines require servicing at least twice a year. Machine Cleaning The ice storage compartment should be cleaned regularly, at least fortnightly, to prevent the build up of bacteria. It should be monitored for any growth of scum or slime, and if such growths become apparent, it should be immediately cleaned according to the manufacturer's instructions. The ice should always be removed and the ice storage compartment should be cleaned using a taint-free sanitiser, bicarbonate of soda, or a vinegar and water solution. This should be followed by a thorough rinse. The ice that has been removed from the machine to allow for cleaning should be disposed of, and it should not be returned to the ice machine. The exterior surfaces of the machine, particularly the door/hatch of the ice storage compartment, must be kept clean. Health and Safety Before proceeding with any cleaning operation, ensure that the electrical power supply to the machine is switched off and the water line is closed. Conclusion Remember it is your responsibility to ensure that the ice served to your customers is safe and wholesome. Contact Details If you need further advice or information email, firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01382 433710.