As summer heats up, there’s nothing quite like cooling down with a refreshing iced latte or delicious slushy. However, amidst the joy of indulging in icy delights, there lurks a potential health concern: pink mould.
In this blog, we will explore the causes and dangers of pink mould, understand how to get rid of it, and discuss preventive measures to ensure our favourite summer treats remain safe and enjoyable.
What is Pink Mould?
So, what is pink mould? Often mistaken for a fungi, pink mould is actually a type of bacteria known as Serratia marcescens.
Serratia marcescens is an aerobic Gram-negative bacillus that thrives in moist environments. This makes ice machines, slushy makers, and other similar equipment the ideal breeding ground for its growth.
What Causes Pink Mould on Ice Machines?
Ice machines offer an ideal environment for mould and slime to form, thanks to the moisture and darkness within. In commercial kitchens, dust, flour, and yeast in the air provide an abundant supply of food, allowing these growths to flourish.
What Are The Dangers?
Though generally not harmful to healthy individuals, pink mould can pose significant risks to those who are vulnerable, such as the young, elderly, and immunocompromised.
Exposure to it can lead to the following symptoms:
→ Respiratory issues (coughing, wheezing and respiratory tract infections)
→ Allergic reactions (coughing, sneezing, itchy watery eyes, ears, and sinus troubles)
→ Pneumonia and bronchitis
→ Bladder and urinary tract infections
→ Poisoning from eating tainted food
→ Gastrointestinal issues (nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, and diarrhoea)
How Do I Prevent Pink Mould?
Preventing pink mould growth requires regular maintenance and attention to detail. Your ice machines and ice dispensers should be cleaned regularly, at least fortnightly, to prevent buildup of mould and bacteria.
→ Inspect your ice machine daily: Check for the presence of any mould, especially on interior surfaces. If you notice any debris, it’s crucial to turn off the machine, empty it, and perform a deep clean and sanitisation procedure.
→ Always use clean ice scoops to serve ice: Never use bare hands or a dirty ice scoop.
→ Wash and sanitise ice scoops daily: Between shifts, wash ice scoops with warm, soapy water and sanitise
→ Always double-check the quality of cleaning: Every night, have a manager follow-up on cleaning performed by staff. This is to ensure surfaces were properly cleaned and all debris was removed.
→ Inspect dim parts weekly: Use a torch to inspect interior areas of the ice machine. This helps to see dim areas, such as around and into the ice chute, which can easily become contaminated.
→ Increase cleaning frequency: Increase cleaning frequency as needed. Don’t wait until visible debris or slime develops.
You can add any of these actions into a customised Pink Mould checklist to guarantee that teams are taking the correct precautions. Or, why not add the daily actions into your current cleaning schedule? Our safety teams are happy to create tailored policies for you, or set you up with digital checklists to follow!
How to Get Rid of Pink Mould in Ice Makers
In any business that uses ice makers, regular cleaning of the ice storage compartment is essential to prevent the buildup of bacteria and moulds. However, if you do notice any mould, it’s crucial to turn off the machine, empty it, and perform a deep clean and sanitisation procedure.
Steps to take as a business:
→ Go to the manufacturer’s website to access information for your machine.
→ Find the cleaning instructions for your type of machine.
→ Discard all ice from the machine prior to cleaning.
→ Use only approved chemicals to sanitise the machine following the steps above.
While pink mould may appear harmless at first glance, its potential to cause harm cannot be underestimated, particularly for vulnerable individuals. By understanding the causes, dangers, and preventive measures against pink mould in ice machines, we can ensure a safe and enjoyable summer, free from any health concerns.
Regular maintenance, proper cleaning practices, and adherence to manufacturer guidelines will protect our health. Plus, it will also contribute to the success of businesses that rely on these essential machines during the sweltering summer months.
So, as we savour our favourite ice-cold treats, let’s remember to keep our ice machines clean and mould-free, ensuring a stress-free summer season for all.
If you need help with your safety processes, speak to a member of our safety team who will be able to advise you on how to operate safely.