Staying Safe on the Ice


Ice is an indispensable part of any foodservice operation’s offering nowadays but it is important to treat your icemaker with the utmost respect if you want to keep your cool.


Now that fresh ice has become a prerequisite for the perfect cocktail, drinks on the rocks, slushies and other soft drinks, and even for food display, most busy bars, if they do not already own one, are looking into purchasing an ice machine. that is all well and good but they must take into account the absolute importance of keeping the ice machine regularly cleaned – both from a food safety and an energy efficiency point of view.


Putting off a thorough clean- through could put customers at risk from health problems. When an icemaker is not regularly cleaned, slime and mould can build up in the machine creating an environment for bacteria to grow and ice to become contaminated. Scientific studies have shown that salmonella, e coli and shigella have all survived in ice cubes mixed with cola, whisky and water, and even with 85 per cent proof tequila!


Regular cleaning and servicing will help to prevent the spread of these unwelcome diseases (and avoid costly law suits for food poisoning) as well as prolonging the ice maker’s life and making sure it is operating at peak efficiency. Some areas in the UK, ice maker suffer from hard water with a high mineral content which causes a build up of limescale within the icemaker, which can seriously decrease the speed of ice production and increase energy consumption; it’s a problem that can easily be avoided with regular maintenance.


Classeq has introduced a package of service plans for its Ice-O-Matic range of icemakers that keep the machines clean and in tip-top working order from as little as 62p per day. Under Classeq’s service plan an experienced engineer will call regularly, change any water filters and fully de-scale and sanitise the machine. Not only does this mean the machine is operating, as it should but also that the ice will taste fresh and pure.


Classeq’s Nick Burridge offers some tips on buying energy-efficient ice machines.


• Can it breathe? Many ice machines are sited in tight spaces. However, they need effective ventilation, otherwise the machine will have to work harder or may break down. So check that there is sufficient ventilation, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.


• If space is a big issue, consider a front-venting machine. For example, Ice-O-Matic machines have a front-venting air intake that makes them ideal for tight-fitting spaces. The top air discharge is a free optional feature that can be added to many of the models, which eliminates the need for side air-flow clearances by directing the exhaust air out of the top of the machine.


• Energy accreditation? There’s no ice machine accreditation for energy in the Uk. If energy-efficiency and running costs are a concern, look for machines that confirm to standards such as Energy Star, the USA accreditation.

• Energy-saving features: Ask the supplier about energy-saving features such as ‘harvest assist’. Ice-O-Matic was the first company to integrate ‘harvest assist technology’, which improves energy efficiency and ice cube production by assisting ice off of the evaporator freezing surface and shortening the harvest cycle time.