May 7, 2021

FDA Keeps an Eye on Packaged Ice

A typical American consumer buys about four bags of packaged ice each year, usually during the summer months when 80 percent of packaged ice sales take place. But most people don’t know that packaged ice is one of the many items that is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDAAlthough small-scale producers are exempt, larger producers must comply with FDA regulations and are subject to inspection. FDA inspectors make sure that packaged ice makers follow Current Good Manufacturing Practices such as producing, holding  and transporting ice in clean and sanitary conditions; monitoring the cleanliness and hygiene of employees; using properly cleaned and maintained equipment, and using water that is safe and sanitary. FDA inspectors check plumbing design to make sure it prevents contamination, test the water supply and inspect the facility and grounds.

Labels must also meet FDA requirements. An ingredient list and nutrition fact box are not required, 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. If and ice label states the product was made from spring water or artesian well water, that statement must be factual.

The FDA recommends that ice used in food or beverages only be handled with clean, non-breakable utensils, such as tongs or an ice scoop and that it be stored in clean container.



  1. Jane McEwen says

    We here at the International Packaged Ice Association were interested in your post on packaged ice. While we certainly appreciate the information conveyed on packaged ice, we wanted to make sure consumers that read your bulletin know they do have a choice when it comes to the ice they purchase for their family.

    Buying a bag of ice with the IPIA label is the only way consumers can be confident that the ice they are buying is safe to consume. Your bulletin mentions FDA inspections but they, unfortunately, are few and far between for wholesale ice manufacturers. And, we estimate that 30% of all packaged ice sold is produced at the retail level and none of that ice is inspected by the FDA. IPIA member producers go far beyond the FDA standards to ensure our ice is safe.

    Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that ice can become contaminated with foodborne bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. In a study conducted by the University of Georgia in 2013, researchers found that out of the millions of pounds of packaged ice produced by retailers and vending machines, some of this ice could put consumers at risk.

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