In the restaurant and food industries we are constantly finding ourselves following standards that are in place to protect consumers and their health. Government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) define “clean” and “safe” drinking water standards, but what about ice? Let’s explore foodservice ice, specifically ice that is made onsite to be served as food in your favorite beverage. While there is a standard for drinking water set by the EPA there is no such standard for the water we use to make ice.
The Health Department’s inspection of ice machines is a visual one. They look inside the bins to make sure there is no visual mold growing on the walls and to make sure it is being used correctly, however, the ice itself is never tested in any way. But just like water is a vitally important ingredient in the finished post-mixed beverage market, ice is too, and we should do more to have a standard of safety set in place.
What Makes Ice an Ingredient?
Let's break down why we consider ice to be such an important ingredient. A post-mix soft drink is generally a mix ratio of five parts ingredient water and one part concentrate or syrup. It’s worth noting here that when we refer to “ingredient water” we are referring to highly regulated water standards set by the beverage companies themselves, that can even exceed the standards of the EPA, to insure quality taste. The finished product sold to consumers, however, is typically ⅓ finished carbonated beverage, and ⅔ unregulated ice.
How You Can Protect Your Business and Your Customers
Ice machines are required to be cleaned two times a year to maintain their manufacturer’s warranty, however, that isn’t often enough to maintain high standards for cleanliness, taste, and safety. Bacteria starts to grow the moment ice machines are cleaned or sanitized, and thrive in the damp, dark environment of the ice machine. It is important to increase cleanings to maintain a clean,tasty and odor-free ice experience for your customers.
Regardless of how often you clean, there is always the risk of contamination unless you have a full time solution.
One thing you can do to help in between cleanings is incorporate the Franke EcO3Ice into each ice making operation. The Franke EcO3Ice is a point of use, electrolytic ozone generator that keeps commercial ice machines cleaner and safer longer producing a BETTER BEVERAGE. Unlike water filters, EcO3Ice kills harmful bacteria and viruses. For more information on the differences between water filters and water ozonators such as EcO3Ice click here.
Click here for more info on EcO3Ice.