Cooling time or Temperature Control for Safety Food (TCS) is a vital aspect that must be practiced in the food industry. There are certain food items and ingredients that need to be prepared at room temperature and then cooled below 41o F within four hours. This process of ice wand is applied to ensure that bacteria stop growing and making the food toxic. The dangerous temperature zone must be avoided to prevent discarding food. It is further recommended to assess the internal temperature of food items and avoid unsafe cooling methods.
Ice as the Source of Contamination
When one is concerned about foodborne diseases, he/she considers uncooked meat and spoiled dairy items as potential threats. It might be surprising to find that ice can be a source of foodborne diseases as well. When contamination of ice goes beyond one’s control, it results in several foodborne illness symptoms ranging from mild to severe, even leading to hospitalizations. It is a serious concern and must not be ignored.
How Can Ice be Contaminated?
Like any other food item, ice can be at risk for contamination. This is particularly true when food cooling and temperature control for safety food like ice wand process is carried out. Ice contaminates via chemical, cross, biological, and physical elements. It is the responsibility of the food handlers to ensure that ice wand safety solutions are maintained throughout.
- Chemical contamination of ice takes place from the chemicals used on storage containers and ice machines
- Cross-contamination occurs from the storage or containers in the ice wand machines
- Biological contamination is common when food handler touch ice with his/her bare hands
- Physical contamination takes place from an unwanted item falls into the storage or container that contains ice
The points mentioned above are the four typical ways ice becomes the source of contamination in the food industry and results in serious foodborne illnesses.
Safe Ice Handling Procedures
To prevent ice from contamination, certain safe ice handling procedures must be practiced.
- Before a food handler comes in touch with ice, he/she must engage in proper hand washing
- It is strictly prohibited to touch the ice with bare hands
- While using utensils, it is essential to clean and sanitize them
- The utensils used for ice must be stored in areas where they won’t be at risk of contamination
- Only specific containers are to be used for storing and handling ice to avoid cross-contamination
- It is important to ensure that food handlers must avoid handling ice when experiencing fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and other health concerns
Safe handling of ice is one of the food safety measures that every food handler must be aware of. Anyone who works with food and incorporates the ice wand process must be trained thoroughly in temperature control for safe food and to prevent contamination. Handling and storing food safe for consumption is vital in running a lawful and successful food business. Thus, food safety training is essential, especially in the food and hospitality industry.
Ice is just one of many sources of contamination in your restaurant. The resource below can help you understand hot spots for germs in your restaurant, your ice being one of them.
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