Ice, (n)ice baby

Clean drinking water is a basic human right in the developed world. We don’t hesitate to fill a glass from a tap anywhere from Anchora to Auckland, and Cupertino to Kraków.

Once it leaves the tap, things become a lot less certain. Water exists in three states and your local coffee shop makes money off all of them – occasionally in the same glass. In your iced Americano, steam extracts the shot, hot water lengthens it and ice chills it. 

Of the three, it’s ice that poses the problems to hygiene and health. The truth is that even though the La Marzocco hugs all the drama and romance to itself, the ice machine is quietly working the same long hours. But whereas the espresso machine takes minutes to clean ( and heat is your constant ally ) the ice machine literally takes hours, and is a natural breeding ground for moulds and bacteria.

The real cost of nice safe ice

And of course this matters. Not just because you care about your customers, their experience and their wellbeing. Also because, in nearly every country, ice is covered by the same food hygiene regulations that apply to raw milk and meats, preserved and cooked foods. 

When it comes to ice machines, hygiene is a challenge and cleaning is complicated and costly. You’re going to need to plan for:

  • The skill and experience to partially dismantle the machine for deep cleaning
  • A cleaning solution, brush (and elbow grease) to remove any deposits of mould and slime etc
  • A sanitiser solution that kills viruses, bacteria, moulds and pretty much every other kind of cellular life (meaning you won’t want any of it in your drink and – by extension – your local streams or the ocean)
  • About 10 litres of water for every 50 ml of sanitiser solution you use
  • Around 24 hours with your ice machine out of service

There’s a fair bit more detail – if you’re unconvinced – in ‘How often should you clean an ice machine’. It’s the same story in every kitchen setting. 

Venice lessons

At St Marks Square Venice, the local restauranteurs ease the pain of ice machine hygiene by collaborating. Whoever is cleaning their ice-making machine that day can rely on the others to supply them with ice for free. Probably, you won’t be relying on the same arrangements. And even if you could, you’re not dodging the cost and risks – just some of the inconvenience. 

In nearly 150 years of refrigeration and ice making, you’d think technology would have solved the cleaning conundrum. Over the same period telephones progressed from wind-up wooden boxes to the iPhone. And electric lighting from cotton filament lamps that lasted 14 hours to LEDs that last a virtual lifetime.

UV light – nature’s remedy

As it turns out, it’s light that unlocks the solution to the ice machine hygiene problem. UV light at specific wavelengths and doses can create a disinfecting ‘photoplasma’ that destroys bacteria, viruses and moulds on contact. 

The technical solution takes advantage of the closed-loop nature of ice making. That’s to say, the ice machine is a sealed steel box which confines the plasma of ozone created by the UV light. By circulating that ozone plasma through the machine it’s possible to sterilise every surface that the ice touches – ozone is nature’s natural bactericide. The only by-products are harmless – water vapour and carbon dioxide. 

The technology works 24 hours a day to keep your ice machine clean. No disruption or down time. No harsh chemicals. No contaminated waste water. Just pure ice.  We call it ICEZONE.

In collaboration with major ice machine manufacturers, our UV technology has been proven safe and effective, and optimised for size, cost and ease of installation. It can be retrofitted to any existing ice machine, and built into new designs too.

BSG Group has a range of products designed to eliminate harmful chemicals, pollutants, viruses and more, for homes and businesses across the globe. BSG products are specifically designed for air conditioning systems, the foodservice industry, and general hygiene for domestic and commercial purposes. Some of the bestselling solutions include:

  • ICEZONE for ice machine and refrigeration disinfection and purification

For more information, contact us or take a look at our product range.

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