How Clean are Ice Cubes?

The importance of clean water is well-understood. Nevertheless, clean ice is equally as important even though people rarely think about the cleanliness of ice. The fact is; however, it is necessary to both be aware of the dangers posed by dirty ice in addition to methods for keeping it clean.

Dirty ice is particularly dangerous because outwardly the ice will usually appear to be normal. Even though it may lack a dirty outward appearance, the microscopic particles and organisms can find their way into ice can cause sickness.

People constantly come into contact with ice, especially at restaurants, but oftentimes, the procedures for handling ice are not nearly as rigorous as with other foods, even though dirty ice can be as harmful as any other type of dirty food. For one, workers often handle ice with their bare hands and letting this ice make contact with unhandled ice (that is, handling ice and then returning it to, for instance, a pale of ice), which can cause the dangers of a single contaminated ice cube to multiply to others. Ice is also touched by many different people and can also have the pathogens acquired through handling, for instance, money or dirty door handles, transferred to them.

The easiest way to not contaminate ice is to exercise common sense. That is, use the same caution when handling any other type of food when handling ice. The simplest way is to simply wash one’s hand if handling it or to wear gloves. The majority of ice contamination results from sick workers not washing their hands as they normally would because they are under the impression that ice is different than other types of food. It is not.

Additionally, there are certain ice-specific tips worth remembering. Ice is most often put in a bin and is scooped out of it. The scoop should remain outside of the bin. If not, it is possible that the scoop’s handle will come into contact with the ice. The handle, likely being under-washed and having had many hands touch it, will likely have a fair number of germs on it. Thus, making sure that this part of the scoop and the ice remain separate is imperative.

The dangers of dirty ice are often underestimated if not completely ignored. However, it can be quite dangerous. Keeping ice clean is generally a simple task if certain rules are followed and so long as the ice is handled like one would handle any other type of food.


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