Every restaurant and food producer has their weakness when it comes to sanitation, but we’ve found that the ice bins in front-of-the-house service stations tend not to get the attention they require. This week, we’ll take a look at some of the hazards and provide food safety class tips that can keep these areas clean.
Ice Bin Sanitation Food Safety Class Tips
One reason why ice bins go overlooked in the sanitation process could be that they are not generally viewed as food containers by restaurant personnel. Ice is just frozen water, and water does not naturally contain any food-borne illness culprits. This thought process may cause servers, bartenders and other service staff to ignore ice storage containers completely.
Over the course of a day, other items may fall into these bins. A lemon from the bar, napkins, serving utensils or liquids such as juice, soda, wine or other beverages can be spilled in the vicinity. If this happens, simply removing the foreign substance may not be enough to completely remove potential contaminants. If your ice comes into contact with a potentially contaminated substance and begins to melt, then all of your ice may be contaminated. It might be prudent to empty the bin, sanitize it and refill it with fresh ice, and remember, always keep the ice bin’s lid closed when not in use.
Food safety classes tell us that it is always important to use a properly mixed sanitizer solution. If your sanitizer is too strong, it has the potential to stick around in your ice bin and end up in a customer’s beverage. Your sanitizer supplier should have test strip available that your wait staff can use to ensure that sanitizer solution has been properly mixed.
Finally, make it a regular procedure to sanitize your ice bins. Simply letting the ice melt and drain away overnight is not enough to prevent bacteria from forming. Your ice bins should be sanitized every time they are emptied before filling with fresh ice.
Are there any other frequently overlooked storage vessels in your facility?