The First Ice Making Solution Designed Specifically for Healthcare Facilities

 

 

Ice Machines, Open Drains, and Listeria

As we've shown in our introductory video, ice machines suck air through their drain hoses into the foodzone of the ice machine. This begs the question, "What exactly is in a floor drain?" The following links discuss what one might find if samples were taken from a facilities' drain:

Disease-Causing Strains of Fusarium Prevalent in Plumbing Drains

Water: Is It a Breeding Ground for Bacteria in Your Facility?

Listeria Control in Consumer Products

The Reputation Drain: Listeria Lurks in Store Drains and can Damage Store Image if not Controlled Properly

Detecting Sources of Listeria monocytogenes in the Ready-To-Eat Food Processing
Environment

Listeria and Ice Machines

As can be seen in the above links, drains are a potential source of contamination. Listeriosis in particular, with a 20%-30% of cases resulting in death, is extremely serious, and protection against this disease must always remain a high priority. Listeriosis is caused by the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes. Causing about 2,500 illnesses a year, and 500 deaths annually, L. monocytogenes is the leading cause of death among foodborne bacterial pathogens. This particular bacterium is commonly found in floor drains, as it thrives in dark and wet environments. It creates a biofilm, which makes it difficult to eliminate. Furthermore, it can survive and even thrive in freezing temperatures, making it especially dangerous in areas that rely on refridgeration to combat contamination. This is even more the case in ice machines, which are typically thought of as "safe" because much of the public falsely believes that freezing temperatures will eliminate bacteria.

While the fact that L. monocytogenes may be commonly present in floor drains is dangerous enough, draining an ice machine into a floor drain with L. monocytogenes may exacerbate the risk. It is commonly thought that the bacterium is spread mainly through human interaction with the floor drain, but it has never been considered that many commercial ice machines in use today suck ambient air through their drain lines. Ice machine drain lines typically stop just above, or rest on, an open floor drain. The air that is being pulled in through the ice machine's drain line is circulated throughout the ice storage bin (see picture 1).

Picture 1: (click for larger image)

drain_bad

 

Of course, Safe Ice technology introduces an air barrier that will completely eliminate the problem of air being pulled into the foodzone via the drain hose. Commercial ice machines fitted with Safe Ice technology are protected by HEPA filtered positive air pressure, meaning the drain lines will never be able to pull contaminated air through the ice machine. The dustproof barrier created by the HEPA filtered positive air pressure system will ensure that no airborne contaminants can rise up the drain line to be deposited in the foodzone. (see picture 2)

Picture 2: (click for larger image)

drain_bad

Links to more information regarding the dangers of Listeria and floor drains:

-Voluntary Guidelines of Sanitation Practices Standard Operating Procedures and Good Retail Practices To Minimize Contamination and Growth of Listeria monocytogenes

-Fighting Food Manufacturing Fears: How to Control & Eliminate Listeria

-FDA: Guidance for Industry: Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Refrigerated or Frozen Ready-To-Eat Foods; Draft Guidance

-http://ucanr.org/freepubs/docs/8015.pdf