In 2010, SERACLEAN initiated a research to study how well ice machines are maintained regarding sanitation. We mainly focused on the inner surfaces of the ice machines, their production unit, and the places that are not visible at first glance and thus cannot be directly checked. According to the research and data collection, in a sample of 5,000 ice machines, 9 out of 10 (90%) were not clean!
In the production unit, a large percentage of mold, slime, mud, rust, soil, salts, and insects was observed, and in the ice storage compartment, items such as melted paper from beverage bottles, lemons, ice scoops, champagne bowls and many other objects and compatible items, that will not be mentioned due to isolated instances, were also observed.
The ice machines that were inspected were mainly from businesses in the field of tourism, catering and ice production. Most of them implemented EN ISO9001 & EN ISO22000 systems from accredited bodies and maintained an integrated HACCP system. Nonetheless, it was found that there is a gap in the HACCP plan to address the hygiene of ice machines.
To summarize, there are two basic mistakes in the operation of the ice machine; firstly, we do not understand and therefore, we do not manage the problem of the ice machine’s inadequate sanitation. Then, when the problem is finally understood, we do not adequately evaluate the technician who is specialized in dealing with the sanitary condition of the ice machine.
Satisfactory microbiological ice analyses are not sufficient.
An uncontaminated ice sample does not equate to an uncontaminated ice machine!
For this reason, every system may need improvement in the control measures we set for the sanitation of the ice machine.
Treating the ice machine’s systems (HACCP / ISO 22000) as one of the kitchen equipment machines and not as a separate critical control point (CCP) is a major cause of its problems. The ice machine is in itself an autonomous food production unit. It should therefore be designated as a separate critical control point (CCP).
Any company that uses an ice machine and implements a HACCP / ISO 22000 system, should include it in the critical control points (CCP), as this machine in itself is a production line, and there should also be a relevant risk analysis for its hygienic operation.
The maintenance of an ice machine undertaken by a refrigeration technician for the repair of damage, technical service, is quite different from the sanitization undertaken by a sanitation technician who aims to provide services against diseases and infections and has specialized knowledge of hygiene and micro-hygiene in ice machines.
We must thus not confuse two independent works, the maintenance work (service carried out by a professional refrigeration technician) with sanitation work (service carried out by a sanitation technician to combat microbiological load and control the results perfectly).
Therefore, an important requirement of standards such as ISO 9001 & ISO 22000 is the evaluation of suppliers. We assess the professional competence of application capability and knowledge to achieve the intended results.
It is necessary for all businesses using ice machines to include in the ice machine record (a HACCP prerequisite) the method and frequency of the ice machines’ sanitization.
Ice Machine Record
It is necessary for every business, with an interest in sanitation, to keep an ice machine record.
This entails a set of documents which constitutes an actual record of the work done and monitoring plan implemented on the ice machines.
To all the companies it cooperates with, SERACLEAN provides a complete record which meets the requirements of all control mechanisms, public and private.