Ice Contamination

We don’t necessarily like to talk about the fact that ice if manufactured to lax sanitation standards and/or handled improperly can be contaminated with harmful bacteria that can make a person sick.

We say that because we love ice too!

But, there have been outbreaks even though ice is many times not even considered in an investigative outbreak. The evidence can then melt and disappear. Many food-borne outbreaks have outcomes whereby the culprit is never discovered.

  • 1983

    90 persons ill, 14 hospitalized salmonellosis, alteration of plumbing during restaurant renovation

  • 1985

    17 ill residents St. Louis nursing home. E. coli O157:H7, ice machine considered source.

  • 1987

    There was an enormous ice-associated outbreak of viral disease in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Over 5,000 people became ill from ice contaminated when waters from a creek following a torrential rainfall flooded an ice company’s wells. Complete details can be obtained from the IPIA, the Center for Disease Control’s Morbidity & Mortality Report or the November, 1991 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

  • 1991

    Salmonella enteritidis. Infected food handler at a fast food restaurant handling ice with bare hands.

  • 1994

    Unknown number ill. Campylobacter outbreak in Tampa ice contaminated after production, feces found on floors of facility.

  • 1999

    Denton, TX Fifty-eight members of a high school drill team were infected with various levels of gastrointestinal illnesses at a camp. The ice got contaminated with e.coli after campers used their bare hands to scoop ice out of the machine

  • 2005

    CNN: Anderson Cooper report shows locations in 4 of 5 Major cities are selling contaminated ice.

  • 2007

    Chicago: Investigation shows that the toilet water is cleaner than the ice in 21 of the 47 restaurants sampled.

  • 2008

    Indianapolis: Investigation shows ice was dirtier that the toilet water in 1 out of every 3 restaurants sampled.

  • 2012

    “How Dirty is your Ice in Salt Lake City”

  • 2012

    NBC West Hartford, CT “Improper manufacturing and handling of ice is a serious public health concern. Various studies show the same results – that poor ice processing conditions can most certainly result in people becoming ill”