IPIA Response to BBC News Investigation on Contaminated Ice
Contact information: Jane McEwen, Executive Director, International Packaged Ice Association 1.800.742.0627
June 28, 2017 – Tampa, Florida – BBC News released a scathing report today on the quality of ice from three of the United Kingdom’s biggest coffee chains. The BBC News report found that ice from the chains found considerable fecal contamination – in fact 13 of the 30 samples (43%) found the contamination in the ice.
Unfortunately, this study isn’t all that surprising to the IPIA. Indeed, a 2013 study and a 2015 study, both published in the Journal for Food Protection found that packaged ice sold in many of the retail locations sampled had high potentially dangerous Coliform bacteria counts and even E. coli and salmonella. These two studies, combined with the recent BBC News report confirm this is, in fact, a worldwide problem.
All ice is not subject to contamination. And the IPIA recommends that consumers purchase packaged ice stamped with the Association’s ‘Ice is Food’ logo, which assures that the ice producer is inspected to rigorous quality and sanitation standards. Packaged ice products sold without the ‘Ice is Food’ logo are most likely not subject to these consumer protections.
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 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 and/or a sell by date.