Historically, Operations or Facilities Management have been responsible for the care and performance of commercial foodservice ice machines. Mechanically, this makes perfect sense but, considering that ICE is a recognized food product, many large chains are rethinking how they manage and care for Ice Equipment and moving the responsibility under the Food Safety Teams inside their organizations. Why?
Food Safety is more important today than ever before. Equipment that produces food must be protected. Operations professionals are charged with keeping it running, producing and maintained for a long life, but may miss key warning signs of bacteria growth. Food Safety professionals, on the other hand, are trained to understand the risk of bacteria in food to consumers, and are charged with managing a clean serving environment. Protecting consumers from foodborne illness is not only protecting them, it is protecting the brand.
Ice Is Food
Ice is a critical piece of every foodservice operation. From frozen blended drinks to fountain drinks and even presentation ice in food zones such as salad bars, ice is everywhere in every operation. No matter the use of the ice being serving to customers it is important to make sure that ice is as clean as possible, and to do that we need to make sure the ice machine is as clean as possible both inside and out.
Cleaning Ice Machines Every 6 Months
Ice machine manufacturers require that an operation clean their ice equipment at least two times each year in order to maintain the manufacturer's warranty. While this schedule will help keep ice machine scaling issues to a minimum, it falls short of maintaining a safe environment inside the machine. From the moment the ice machine is put back into service after a cleaning or sanitization cycle is completed it begins to grow new bacteria.
We love the idea of moving the responsibility of ice machine maintenance from Operations to Food Safety. Has your restaurant already made this change? We’d love to hear more about your decision to make the move.