Americans eat more ice than bread—over 2 pounds per person per day. Up to 80 percent of packaged ice for consumption and refrigeration is purchased between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Across the nation, there is relatively little, if any, inspection or regulatory oversight of all packaged ice producers at the federal or state level and almost 50 percent of all packaged ice sold in the U.S. is produced on-premises at gas stations, liquor stores, campgrounds, supermarkets, vending machines and other retail outlets. Ice producing members of the International Packaged Ice Association however, exceed the highest standards for product quality and safety.
The International Packaged Ice Association has identified precautions aimed at eliminating potential safety issues that have been found in some packaged ice products.
• Make sure the package has been properly sealed—without drawstring ties.
• Avoid ice from outside vending machines
• The ice should be clear, odorless and tasteless.
• Inspect the ice for any foreign objects or particles.
• The bag must have the manufacturer’
• Avoid cross-contamination. Even if contaminated ice in a cooler touches other foods, illness can spread. Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods.
• Look for the IPIA logo on the package.
“It’s impossible to see microbes with the human eye, but consumers can feel safe if they see the IPIA logo,” said Jane McEwen, Executive Director of the IPIA. “Remember the freezing process doesn’t kill the microbes much less the ones that can be transferred to the ice through poor handling or moldy, slimy ice machine bins. Consumers can be at risk for such microbes as E. Coli and Hepatitis A with ice obtained from unsanitary operations.”
Due to the lack of governing regulations for packaged ice, it is notable that the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and more and more of our nation’s largest private retail establishments are specifically requiring the IPIA's PIQCS Standards as the basis for their own acquisition of packaged ice.
About The International Packaged Ice Association:
The IPIA was founded in 1917. For 95 years, the non-profit trade association has represented ice producers and suppliers to the trade. A primary part of its mission is to raise awareness amongst consumers and trade partners that Ice is a Food and must be produced and handled to safe standards and best practices. The IPIA represents a group of members who voluntarily subject their plants to the scrutiny of an outside auditing source in the effort to maintain the best practices of food safety.
For additional information about the International Packaged Ice Association, please visit www.PackagedIce.com or call 800-742-0627.