Are You Buying Contaminated Packaged Ice?
Posted by: PNNOnline on Monday, May 22, 2006
Imagine the ice you are purchasing at your retailer being dirtier than toilet water. Ice is ice, or is it? Whether processed and packaged from a moldy ice machine, mishandled through the use of dirty buckets or even hand scooped by dirty hands, it is difficult for consumers to know exactly what they are buying and consuming. That is why this summer the International Packaged Ice Association (IPIA) wants all consumers to know that all ice is not created equally and that ice shoppers need to be selective when buying it.
According to a recent study conducted by Michigan State University, there is a heightened concern with safety of foods among consumers. In fact, 63 percent of the consumers interviewed are very or fairly concerned about the safety of the foods they eat and almost half of the respondents said they do not buy foods that are likely to be unsafe.
“The vast majority of consumers are concerned about the quality of their food and drinking water, but do not think about the quality and safety of their ice,” said Jane McEwen, IPIA executive director. “The IPIA is dedicated to protecting the customer and we want to educate people on the safety and benefits of buying packaged ice that carries the IPIA seal of approval.”
As the weather begins to heat up, so does ice consumption to keep beverages and food cold and fresh. Whether it’s a backyard BBQ, a picnic at the park or a daily glass of iced-tea, people need safe, clean ice. When buying packaged ice, consumers should look for the product that has been packaged by a certified IPIA member and carries the IPIA seal.
The IPIA seal means that the packaged ice consumers are buying meets the association’s strict quality and safety policy. The stringent Packaged Ice Quality Control Standards (PIQCS) are mandated for all IPIA members to ensure safe and quality ice. It regulates everything from employees’ personal hygiene, sanitary operations of the facilities, and equipment and utensils used in making ice to quality of the water source and continuous microbiological testing of the finished product.
“A clean, quality product is of the utmost importance to us,” said McEwen. “In addition to the PIQCS sanitary standards, the ice produced by IPIA members is never touched by human hands to ensure that each bag of ice is safe.”
So what should consumers look for when they are buying packaged ice? Here are a few important tips to purchasing clean, safe ice:
- The package of ice must carry the IPIA logo
- Ice must be clear in color as well as odorless and tasteless
- The bag must be properly closed and secure (no drawstring ties)
- The bag must have the manufacturer’s name, address and phone number
- The bag must be free of any foreign objects
- The bag must have a product code
The International Packaged Ice Association was founded in 1917. For 88 years this non-profit trade association has represented ice producers and suppliers to the trade. Its mission is to promote growth and profitability for the packaged ice industry through the ongoing development and management of standards and value-added services that enhance the image of the industry and provide product safety to consumers and trade partners.