Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner

Ice Chests and Ice Machines


Investigations by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have determined that ice may become contaminated from use of impure water, contamination of ice-making machines or from improper storage or handling of ice. Improper sanitary maintenance of ice machines and ice chests surfaces can lead to the formation of biofilm where pathogens proliferate.


  1. Ice machines that dispense ice directly into portable containers at the touch of a control provide a more sanitary method to store and obtain ice than use of ice chests, but such ice machines may be more expensive to purchase and to operate.

  2. All ice handlers should be taught the following precautions:
    1. Wash hands frequently. Hands should be washed prior to handling ice and as necessary.
    2. Hold ice scoop by handle; do not touch food (ice) contact surface(s) with hands
    3. Do NOT handle ice with bare hands
    4. Do NOT return unused ice to an ice storage chest or ice machine.
    5. Keep access doors to ice chest/ ice machine closed except when removing ice
    6. Do NOT store food or beverages inside ice chests or ice machines

  3. Ice scoops should have smooth, non-porous, and easy to clean contact surfaces. They should be stored in a fashion that will preclude their contacting the floor (tethered, in sleeve, or stored in ice within the unit in a manner where the handle is not in contact with ice). Scoops may also be kept on an uncovered, stainless steel, impervious plastic or fiberglass tray on top of the chest when not in use. The tray and the scoop should be cleaned and sanitized daily.

  4. Remove all extraneous equipment and items from around or on the ice chests and machines. If possible, limit access to ice chests.

  5. Clean and sanitize ice storage compartments on a preset schedule; weekly to monthly cleaning of open chests is suggested; less frequent cleaning may be possible with ice dispensing machines. Cleaning should be carried out with a fresh soap or detergent solution after disconnecting the unit, removing and discarding all ice allowing the chest to warm to room temperature. Use clean or disposable wipes to scrub all surfaces, including door tracks, guides and gaskets. After cleaning, rinse all surfaces of the compartment with potable water, rinse it again with a 100-ppm (mg/1) solution of hypochlorite, allow it to dry and then return the unit to service.

  6. A routine cleaning scheduled as necessary should be implemented to clean ice making machine. Disconnect ice machines, discard all ice and disassemble removable parts of the machine. Thoroughly clean the machines and the parts. Check for worn portions of the machine and repair or replace as necessary. Insure the presence of an air gap at all inlets for potable water. Inspect for insect or rodent infestation under the unit and treat, if necessary. Check the gasket around the ice chest door (open compartment models) for cleanliness and evidence of possible leakage or dripping of contaminants into the ice chest. Clean the ice storage compartment as in No. 5 above. Place a 50-ppm of solution of hypochlorite in the ice machine for at least 4 hours of a 200-ppm solution for at least 2 hours. Circulate the solution throughout the entire ice making and storing system according to the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning and sanitizing procedures. Remove the disinfecting solution, flush the system with potable water, allow the ice compartment to dry and then return the unit to service.

  7. External surface of ice machines and ice chests must be made from impervious, corrosion resistant and easily cleanable material. External surfaces of ice machines and ice chests must be kept clean and under sanitary condition to avoid adulteration of ice.