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With cookout, picnic and outdoor party season underway, many people are aware of the precautions to be taken to ensure that food at these festivities is kept fresh and safe to eat.
However, another item that is likely at every summer party – bagged ice – is sometimes neglected when it comes to food safety precautions.
“People don’t usually associate ice with a form of contamination, but if you do handle it with your bare hands, it is considered a ready-to-eat food product,” said Luke Mathis, environmental health team leader with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. “If you’re just using it to cool cans and things, generally it’s not a problem. But if you’re actually using the ice in your drinks, you want to limit your contact with the ice. We recommend using an ice scoop so people’s hands don’t actually touch the ice.”
Mathis said the Lexington-Fayette Health Department has seen some cases of Norovirus this year, which is contagious virus that can come from eating, drinking or even touching contaminated food or surfaces.
According to the International Packaged Ice Association, there are a few simple rules to follow when purchasing packages ice:
· Ice should be clear, odorless, and tasteless
· The bag must be properly closed and secure without drawstring ties
· The bag must be free of any foreign objects or particles
· The bag must have the manufacturer’s name, address and phone number
Visit < a href="http://www.PackagedIce.com/">www.packagedIce.com for more information.