Ice-O-Matic insists there is still plenty of work for the industry to do around ice hygiene after a survey it commissioned revealed a worrying lack of understanding among users.
40% of foodservice operators admit they don’t know how often they do – or how often they should – clean their ice machines despite a number of high profile scandals around ice hygiene, according to the brand’s study.
Adam Lenton, marketing manager for Ice-O-Matic UK, said a “surprisingly high” number of operators did not clean their ice machines regularly as per manufacturers’ recommendations.
“The majority of operators are diligent around the cleanliness and quality of their ice but the fact remains that a worrying number of caterers did not clean their machines as often as they should and had limited knowledge around what is acceptable or what the manufacturer recommendations actually are.”
Lenton said that poor levels of hygiene in ice can affect consumers as badly as those from poor food hygiene practices. “Proper and regular cleaning is vital,” he added.
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.
Lenton added: “Some consumers do not like ice period. We know that some have sensitive teeth, others who feel that ice dilutes the drink. But, let’s not forget that around 70% of those asked, want to be served ice and love the refreshing impact it gives them.”
He said manufacturers could help operators keep on top of the issue, pointing to the 03-Matic (Ozone) device on its systems, which infuses ozone into incoming water, killing microbes on every surface it touches.