Packaged Ice FAQ

1. The freezing process destroys all pathogens present in the food.
  • FALSE: Bacteria and Viruses can survive on ice cubes and some can even multiply.

2. If pathogenic bacteria are present in ice, they can be killed when the ice is added to beverages with high alcoholic content
  • FALSE: A study was done at the University of Texas and Salmonella, E. Coli and Shigella all survived in ice cubes mixed with a cola drink, scotch and water, and 85-proof tequila.

3. Ice is high on the list to investigate as the source of an outbreak.
  • FALSE: Ice is very rarely considered as an outbreak culprit. And by the time all other higher profile food products like the meat are ruled out, the ice has melted and disappeared.

4. Ice is ice is ice…it’s just frozen water.
  • FALSE: There is a difference in the sanitary quality of ice depending on the manufacturer. Ice is frozen water, but the freezing process not only does not destroy the pathogens that might be present in the water supply, additional pathogens can be introduced to the ice when the ice machine has slime and mold on its surfaces, un-sanitized ice scoops and infected food handlers. And remember, ice comes in contact with other foods and becomes a part of them (e.g. ice in a beverage). Only IPIA Member packaged ice is verified by a third-party auditor as adhering to strict sanitary standards. Plus IPIA ice is the ONLY packaged ice on the market that a consumer can be sure is tested routinely for pathogens at independent laboratories.

5. All Packaged Ice is Untouched by human hands.
  • FALSE: Millions of pounds of packaged ice are produced in the back rooms of convenience stores, liquor stores, fast-food restaurants and gas stations.  The manual bagging nature of many of these manufacturers allows hand contact with the ice which is a source of contaminants.  Only IPIA Member packaged ice is absolutely untouched by human hands.

6. Packaged Ice is regulated like all other foods.
  • FALSE: Unfortunately it is not.  Although Ice is defined as a food, there are no specific guidelines or regulations that address packaged ice manufacturing except for the IPIA’s self-regulated and developed Packaged Ice Quality Control Standards (PIQCS).  IPIA manufacturing members must meet these strict sanitary standards. There are no specific guidelines or regulations for the millions of pounds of ice produced at retail and self-serve vending machines and to compound it there is little to no oversight of these operations.
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