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Ice Machine Cleaning

Supplier: Jaymak

Ice Machine Cleaning can be a job that no one wants to do. It does take time and it must be cleaned at a time when ice is not required.


Ice Machine Cleaning

How clean is your ice machine?

Contaminated ice is the product of a poorly maintained ice machine. Lack of awareness in ice machine hygiene can create a massive problem for any business, especially in hotels where ice is liberally used.

Jaymak can inspect your ice machine free and identify the risk to your customers. They are then able to remedy the problem quickly and efficiently.

Contaminated ice can make your customers sick!

Ice may be used as a food for human consumption and like any other food, has the potential to cause food poisoning if it is not manufactured and handled under hygienic conditions. Everyone serving, handling or manufacturing ice that will be consumed or will come into contact with food, has a responsibility to ensure that the ice is safe, fit for consumption and free of harmful bacteria.

The importance of safe handling of ice for consumption has been highlighted by surveys conducted by Queensland Health Population Health Units on the microbiological quality of ice.

In June/July 2001, Queensland Health Population Health Units, carried out a quality survey of ice used in drinks at hotels, restaurants and bars. Samples of ice were obtained from packaged ice, ice machines and the serving containers at 30 food premises in the Brisbane Northside area.

Eight premises failed to comply with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG). The survey also identified adequate handling practices likely to contaminate the ice.

There have been a number of outbreaks associated with ice contaminated by food related pathogens, particularly a virus called Norovirus. An outbreak in 2002 in the U.S.A. occurred as a result of a sick employee who had not washed his hands, contaminating the ice in ice coolers. Approximately 80 people got sick from drinks containing the ice. While death resulting from Norovirus is rare, a healthy 15 year old boy died when he choked on his own vomit from the illness. A wrongful death lawsuit resulted in a $3 million settlement.

Often the task of cleaning an ice machine has low priority; however the risk of harming your customers is very high.

Ice Machines that are not cleaned regularly and thoroughly can cause the spread of nasty germs like Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, Shigella, and the Norovirus.

Did you know that microbial growth can cause biofilm or buildup inside commercial ice-making machines?

What are Biofilms?

Biofilms are a collection of microorganisms, mainly bacteria, growing together in a matrix of polymers secreted by the microorganisms. Once microbes grow into well-developed biofilms, cleaning and sanitation become much more difficult.

Biofilms have a shielding effect on the bacterial cells within them, and normal cleaning and sanitizing methods may not eliminate them. Biofilms MUST be removed or prevented from forming on surfaces.

Disease-producing bacteria, including Listeria, can be 1,000 times harder to eliminate if it is living in a protective biofilm. Biofilms can be very difficult to remove from surfaces, and are known to have an increased biocidal resistance due to the biofilm structure protecting the microorganisms. Biofilms can be a continual source of pathogenic and spoilage organisms if not completely removed.

Spoilage organisms such as Pseudomonas grows in biofilms and can be sloughed off during production, contaminate the food, and accelerate spoilage. The polymers secreted by the bacteria close to the surface are strong adhesives making the cells very difficult to remove.

The cells in a biofilm actually take on specialized functions and can communicate with each other in a rudimentary way (called Quorum Sensing).

From the JIFSAN Good Aqua cultural Practices Manual

Section 9-Effective Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures. Copyright © 2007 University of Maryland and the JohnsonDiversey Corporation

A Jaymak hygiene technician will remove the various parts of the ice machine and thoroughly clean and sanitise them to ensure the biofilm is removed.

How often should ice machines be cleaned?

Cleaning and maintenance of ice machines and storage units is essential in preventing contamination of ice or equipment. Where possible always follow manufacturer's instructions for maintenance and cleaning.

A regular cleaning schedule should be established and cleaning and maintenance records maintained. Inspect the interior of the machine twice a week for build up of mould or other contaminants, and clean accordingly.

The removable parts of the machine should be disassembled and cleaned on a regular basis, such as monthly or quarterly, as determined by manufacturer's instructions or health care facility. Jaymak highly recommends that a 6 monthly hygiene service be implemented to reduce the risk of ice contamination.

Jaymaks' hygiene technicians are trained to clean your commercial ice machines upon request, or they can set up a convenient hygiene service agreement that will ensure your ice machine is clean and running efficiently.