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Ice used in the preparation of food

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements may apply in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

Introduction

Ice is commonly used by food businesses in the production of a food. It is often used:

Note: In Canada, ice intended for human consumption is regulated as a food.

Because ice may be used as an ingredient, or may come into direct contact with food, care should be taken to ensure that the ice is made from suitable water and is handled in such a way that it does not become contaminated. The safety of ice is dependent on the:

Purpose

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) created this document as guidance to help food businesses comply with the requirements set out in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations and section 12 of the Food and Drug Regulations.

It's your choice

You may use other guidance developed by provincial governments, industry associations, international partners or academic bodies as long as they can achieve the outcomes identified in the regulations. Always ensure that the guidance you choose is relevant for your particular business, product or products, and market requirements.

What is included

This document provides information on controlling the hazards related to the safe production of prepackaged ice and the use of ice in food manufacturing. It outlines best practices for:

Refer to the Tell me more! section for additional sources of information that may help you ensure the ice you use are safe for the intended use.

What is not included

While this document provides information on best practices for ice production and handling, it is not exhaustive – the preventive control measures needed will depend on the size and complexity of the food business and be unique for each business.

This document does not address:

Roles and responsibilities

Food businesses are responsible for complying with the law. They demonstrate compliance by ensuring that the commodities and processes for which they are responsible meet regulatory requirements. If a written preventive control plan (PCP) is required, the food business develops a PCP with supporting documents, monitors and maintains evidence of its implementation, and verifies that all control measures are effective.

The CFIA verifies the compliance of a food business by conducting activities that include inspection, and surveillance. When non-compliance is identified, the CFIA takes appropriate compliance and enforcement actions.

Ice used in the production of food

When ice is used in a manner that can bring it into contact with a food, or is incorporated into food, it is important for the ice and the water released from the melting ice to be free from biological, chemical or physical hazards that can present a risk of contamination to a food.

Ice production

The ice for use in the manufacturing, processing, treatment or preservation of a food should be safe and suitable for its intended use.

Note: Division 12 of the Food and Drug Regulations applies to prepackaged ice offered for sale.

Did you know?

Freezing water does not kill bacteria, nor does it inactivate viruses. Viruses can survive in ice for long periods of time.

Establishment and equipment

As with food, ice has to be prepared, packaged and stored under suitable, clean and sanitary conditions and protected from contamination.

1. Establishment construction and design

The establishment where you produce ice has to be designed, constructed, maintained and operated in a manner that does not present a risk of contamination to the ice.

2. Equipment design and operation

The equipment used to produce ice, or treat water used for ice, has to be appropriate for use, designed, constructed and maintained to function as intended and prevent contamination of the ice.

3. Sanitation

Cleaning and sanitizing the equipment and utensils used to produce the ice at the start of production and after shutdown can prevent contamination of the ice.

Sanitation procedures should include:

Further information is available in the guidance document Cleaning and sanitation program.

Making block ice

When producing ice by filling cans with water to be frozen:

If compressed air is used to agitate the water in the blocks to accelerate the block freezing process:

Testing ice

You should conduct microbiological testing of the finished ice to ensure compliance with Division 12 of the Food and Drug Regulations.

If you use ice that was made in another establishment, you should:

Tell me more! Further reading

The following references contain information that helps explain food safety controls, demonstrates how to develop them, and provides examples. The CFIA is not responsible for the content of documents that are created by other government agencies or international sources.

CFIA references

Other references

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