You would never drink “dirty” water.
Why would you use “dirty” ice?
The low temperatures required for the production and maintenance of ice give us a sense of security that leads us to mishandling.
The literature, both Greek and international, highlights the problem of ice quality and the fact that ice can be a source of danger to public health, despite the existence of legislation.
During their operation, ice machines are one of the most overworked in the field of catering and food production. It is a machine that produces food 24 hours a day without much human intervention and is therefore neglected.
Ice machines are a source of foodborne diseases if proper solutions are not followed by expert sanitation technicians for ice safety.
Usually, outbreaks of infection develop in hidden, dark and internal parts of the ice machine, which are not visible at first glance, making any sanitation control difficult.
Ice contamination can also be caused by the ice machine itself, introduced by airborne particles, water stagnation and high humidity in the room, variation in temperature during its operation, food handlers or dirty utensils used for the collection and storage of ice, foreign bodies, etc.
Consequently, the resulting hazards are many and are divided into physical hazards, chemical hazards and minor biological hazards.
Conditions are thus created that constitute an ideal environment for the growth of mold or slimy layer, which in turn lead to the formation of bacteria, fungi and the creation and development of biofilm.
Germs can’t be seen, but they exist!
A slimy, mud-like layer often forms on the wet surfaces of the ice machine. This layer is called biofilm and consists of many different species of bacteria, which coexist and cooperate with each other.
The presence of biofilm can lead to numerous infections, e.g., gastrointestinal disorders, urinary tract infections, respiratory infections and dental plaque formation.
The biofilm is actually much harder to remove from hidden surfaces. Hence, it can be a constant source of spoilage or contamination if not completely removed.
Some biofilm bacteria have been shown to be up to 1000 times more resistant to antibiotics – even if they have left it – compared to free-living bacteria of the same species.
Consumers of ice from ice machines that have not been cleaned – disinfected, usually suffer from infections, gastrointestinal and pulmonary disorders, as well as pseudo-infections.