September is National Food Safety Month, a great time to reinforce, retrain and re-inspect our in-house food safety practices. As foodservice operators and consumers we are much more aware of the importance of proper food safety, and we've seen a dramatic drop in the spread of foodborne illnesses. Nevertheless, according to the Centers for Disease Control, there are still 5,000 deaths, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 76 million illnesses are caused by foodborne illness each year. So there's still room for improvement.
Ice seems pretty benign. But ice, just like raw meat or produce, is a food that requires proper handling. According to the International Packaged Ice Association, the average person consumes nearly two pounds of ice per day, making it a significant factor. The main problem is cross contamination. Bacteria, including Salmonella, E. Coli, and Hepatitis A, chemicals and foreign objects can be introduced into ice in a variety of ways:
washing their hands every time they handle ice
Here are some simple training points
to cover in your next pre-shift briefing and add to training materials
so that all employees know how to safely handle ice:
In addition, be sure to clean all machines, bins, scoops and other utensils regularly to avoid a build-up of bacteria, slime or mold. Machines should be cleaned once a week, and utensils and scoops should be sanitized at least once a day. Remember, heat will kill bacteria. Cold will not.
For Trade Secrets Members, we've made a downloadable list of these ice safety pointers to print out and post wherever ice is used.