Ice contamination is a serious public health concern. Source water contamination, contaminated ice machines, unsanitized ice scoops, and cross contamination in the handling process are leading causes of packaged ice contamination.
That's why consumers should buy ice that meets the high standards of the IPIA - the only way you can be assured the ice you are buying is safe to consume.
"Total Food Service has published a new article highlighting the dangers of unsafe ice in ice machines. "Many people believe that the freezing cold temperatures in ice machines will kill off any bacteria or viruses that enter your ice bin. Unfortunately, unwanted microbes can be tough little buggers. Much like mold and slime, when you neglect cleaning your ice machine, many potentially dangerous germs such as Salmonella, Norovirus, and E. coli can end up infecting your ice supply and possibly get a customer sick. These types of microbes present more of a danger to customers than mold or slime. All three of these can cause serious digestive problems (Norovirus can even be fatal)."
The only way to completely protect your family against this risk of contaminated ice is to make sure you are buying packaged ice manufactured by a member of the IPIA. Consumers can look for the IPIA logo when purchasing packaged ice in member branded packaging and a growing number of retail private label packaging.
The IPIA label is the only way consumers can be assured the ice they are buying is safe to consume. The University of Cal Poly and University of Georgia have conducted studies to compare ice produced and packaged by outside vending machines and on-premises retail establishments to ice produced by manufacturing companies that conform to quality manufacturing standards set by the IPIA. The results clearly show that consumers need to be conscious of the ice they are buying for themselves and their families.
Research Findings: Scientists Find Contamination in Ice Which is Not Produced to Industry Standards
The latest and most comprehensive study to ever look at the safety of packaged ice has been published in California. The study compared packaged ice produced by members of the International Packaged Ice Association to those who manufacture ice without the industry-leading IPIA standards. This study definitively shows that consumers are at risk due to the amount of packaged ice produced by non-IPIA retailers in California that was found to have unsatisfactory levels of contamination.
ESPN's Outside the Lines published an article documenting lax sanitation standards at sporting venues across the country. The article highlights the inherent dangers of ice that is handled properly. "Handwashing can factor in in unexpected ways, such as someone's bare hands coming into contact with ice while scooping it out of an ice machine, Liggins Coly said. That can be a big problem at stadiums, where people often drink more than they eat.'Many people don't even know that ice is food,' she said."