April 18, 2014

Ice is Food? Yes, and the FDA Regulates it

IceIs ice food? Yes. Whether it’s shaved, cubed, or crushed, ice is food according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and it’s regulated.

That means, packaged ice must be produced in accordance with the agency’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices in Manufacturing, Packing, or Holding Human Food.  Translation? Ice manufacturers “must produce, hold, and transport ice in clean and sanitary conditions, monitor the cleanliness and hygiene of employees, use properly cleaned and maintained equipment, and use water that is safe and sanitary.”

During inspections, FDA investigators make sure: the plumbing design prevents contamination, the water supply is safe and sanitary, and and the facility and grounds are sanitary. Small-scale producers are exempt.

Labels must also meet FDA requirements. An ingredient list and nutrition fact box are not necessary, but the labels must contain other information such as the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor of the ice and the net quantity of the contents. Ice labeled as made from spring water or artesian well water must actually be derived from those sources.

We are in the high season for packaged ice. About 80 percent of packaged ice sales occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  On average, the American consumer will buy about four bags of packaged ice each year.

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