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People are getting sick, some fingers are pointing at ice machines as the source.  The Ice Man Cleaning Machine Services says, “Microbial growth can cause biofilm or ‘slime’ buildup inside commercial ice-making machines.” Bacterial growth includes pathogens like Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, Shigella, and the Norwalk virus.” They go on to say, “Once microbes grow into well-developed biofilms, cleaning and sanitation become much more difficult. Biofilms have a shielding effect on the bacterial cells within them, and normal cleaning and sanitizing methods may not eliminate them.” 

Food regulation covers food contact surfaces. Ice cubes are consumable and therefore need to come from a clean source.

“Clean and sanitize the ice machine every six months for efficient operation,” says the Manitowoc Ice Machine Manual where they cover cleaning the machines over 8 lengthy pages of instructions. They further say, “The ice machine must be taken apart for cleaning and sanitizing.”

The Iceomatic Manual also recommends cleaning every 6 months. 

Food Service Warehouse says, “Many commercial ice machines have antimicrobial protection built-in to the plastic used in the food-zone areas of ice production and are guaranteed to inhibit the growth of slime and mold for the life of the machine.” Yet they also say all machines should be cleaned every 6 months.

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The Houston Department of Health and Human Services says the culprit in ice machines is slime, “A type of mold or fungus that accumulates from bacterial growth on surfaces that are constantly exposed to clinging water droplets and warm temperatures.”

They go on to say, “If the residuals are left exposed and not wiped clean or the machine is not sanitized regularly, you will then see bacteria and mold growths in the moist, cool environment of your ice machine. Most times, slime will take on a pinkish tone; if left untreated, the pink will turn to red, green, brown and even black ropes of slime hanging from the freezer panels inside the machine.”

Consumerist.com recommends restaurants should clean their ice machines twice weekly, a drastically different schedule than the manuals. They say, “Sanitize the interior and the lines using quaternary ammonium (QAC) at 200 parts per million. Wipe the condensation from the ice machine surfaces. Take a clean cloth, moisten it with sanitizer, wring it so it won’t drip then wipe down the surface.”

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www.today.com

The list of questions you ask your waiter is now getting longer: Is there MSG in this? Do you use high fructose corn syrup in that? Is there wheat in the ingredients? Now we should ask, “When was the last time you cleaned your ice machine?”

Consumers can and should demand a standard of clean food. Cleanliness is important to healthy eating as well as drinking. Cleaning an ice machine can  be as simple as running a sanitizing solution through the cycle and then running two cycles of ice that you toss before running ice for ingesting.

This is also true for ice machines that live in your home freezer.

Ice is not the only victim. Any item manufactured in a machine that chills can fall subject to slimy mold growth. This includes Italian Ice, popsicles and yogurt. 

New York Daily News reported in December of 2013, “A U.S. Food and Drug Administration report says the Idaho State Department of Agriculture detected abnormalities in yogurt at a Chobani facility two months before the company issued a recall, but state officials

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clostridium

say that’s not true.” Over 300 customers reported getting sick from the yogurt.” More than one Chobani recall has been made over the past five years. 

Click here to view pictures of mold growing inside ice machine lines. Warning, these pictures are disturbing.  

Rely on your taste buds and your smell. There may be something hidden in your drink.

*If you learned something from this post share it so others can do the same. To support the efforts of this blog shop the affiliate links above like this one. You pay the same shopping through Amazon while the author receives a small referral fee from Amazon. This offsets the costs of this site.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who works in Rossville, Georgia. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.

Other sources:

http://consumerist.com/2010/11/05/slime-in-our-ice-machine/

http://www.icemachinecleaning.com/icehealth.htm

http://www.iceomatic.com/uploadedFiles/Shared_Content/Product_Content/Downloads/Service_Manuals/ECP500%20Service%20Manual.pdf

http://www.houstontx.gov/health/Food/slime.htm

http://www.manitowocice.com/docs/uploaded/mii/service%20manuals/q_model_sm.pdf

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/idaho-knew-chobani-yogurt-mold-recall-fda-article-1.1539860

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