Ice is a food that must be managed safely by Food Handlers

Do you handle ice that will be consumed by people?It is easy to forget that ice is used as a food for human consumption and has the potential to cause food poisoning if it is not manufactured and handled under hygienic conditions.

Food handlers that serve, handle or manufacture ice that will be consumed or will come into contact with food, have a responsibility to ensure that the ice is safe, fit for consumption and free of harmful bacteria.

Food handlers who are ill

You must advise your supervisor and do not handle ice if you are ill, particularly if you have symptoms of a cold or flu, vomiting, diarrhoea, or a skin infection on the hands.

Personal hygiene for food handlers

  • ensure you thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm running water and dry hands with disposable paper towels before handling ice
  • avoid handling other materials that may transmit bacteria (cross contamination) to the ice (eg. cleaning cloths, tea towels, refuse containers)
  • keep your clothing, hands, fingernails and body clean at all times and if required, wear protective clothing (gloves, caps, aprons)
  • do not smoke before or while handling ice

Handling ice

  • do not handle ice with bare hands, use clean ice scoops, ice buckets or disposable gloves
  • do not use a glass to scoop ice; it may break
  • do not break up or loosen bags of ice on the floor or other unclean surfaces, as the ice may become contaminated
  • ensure only a minimum number of staff and customers handle ice
  • hold the ice scoop by the handle, do not touch parts of the scoop that come into contact with ice
  • do not return unused ice to the ice machine or package

Serving containers for ice

  • rinse the serving container with boiling water or sanitiser before and after storing ice
  • serving containers should be fitted with a lid to prevent contamination
  • serving containers should only be used for the purpose of storing ice
  • ice buckets for transfer of ice should be stored in an area free from dust and debris (eg. closed cupboard) and used only for ice

Utensils for ice

  • ice scoops should be cleaned and sanitised daily and made of a smooth and easily cleanable material (eg. stainless steel)
  • Ice scoops should be stored on a clean tray made of smooth and impervious materials such as stainless steel, plastic or fibreglass when not in use

As a food handler working at a food business your job is prevent food-borne illness and customers getting sick. Ensuring you handle ice correctly is an important function. You can learn more about handling food safely in the Follow Workplace Hygiene procedures online training course.