In The News

Johns Article C StoreOnlyx900Every food code in Canada and the U.S. defines ice as a food yet there is little oversight over packaged ice. 

As a food product, packaged ice is not only important for consumers maintaining today’s active lifestyle and health, but also critical for food processing and emergency relief operations. Ice...the Forgotten Food is a slogan borrowed from the International Packaged Ice Association (IPIA). The IPIA has used this slogan for many years in an attempt to draw the attention of all government officials, both Canadian and U.S., and to develop legislation that creates food safety standards for the packaged ice industry.

The IPIA, founded in 1917, is an association of over 400 packaged ice manufactures and distributors with locations in North America that serves all provinces in Canada and states in the US. In Canada, the Canadian Association of Ice Industries (CAII), a chapter of the IPIA, has taken steps to advance packaged ice safety.

In the fall of 2002, the CAII was approached by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to fund the writing of a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) food safety program for the packaged ice industry. Our journey started in the spring of 2003 after funding was approved. We assembled a team of industry members, HACCP experts, and water experts. 

We met in Kingston, Ontario six times a year for the next two years and discussed the many food safety aspects of processing and producing packaged ice including water quality, the freezing process, the packaging, the warehousing and the distribution of the end product. The finished document was approved for implementation in the spring of 2005 at a meeting in Ottawa.

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The Forest City

Our London

It could be London’s coolest job — literally.
Toiling away for hours, often in sub-zero temperatures, Ross Smibert and his staff have been putting a chill into the Forest City for more than 60 years.

Jokingly referring to himself more as the custodian and a guy that signs the cheques, Smibert is actually the owner of North Star Ice.

As the sun drove temperatures to near record highs outside the company’s facility at the corner of Oxford and Stuart streets last week, the 88-year-old boss was more than willing to take some time out of his day to talk ice.

Sitting amid a sizable collection of ice-related paraphernalia ranging from ice picks to antique iceboxes, there is no mistaking his knowledge on the subject by the sparkle in his eyes. For years, ice was harvested from lakes and rivers during the winter months, packed in saw dust and stored in warehouses to be distributed through the summer for a variety of uses from making ice cream and preserving food, to cubes for cooling drinks.

The introduction of artificial ice making machines during the late 1800s, and the home refrigerator in the early 1900s, prompted a decline in natural ice harvesting. Pollution of lakes and rivers from places like The Coves here in London, “where huge quantities of ice were drawn for use in the city,” all but ended the practice, says Smibert.

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Check out Party Ice’s food-grade quality production process featured on Maritime Made!

In the news li ice machine
CBC Marketplace tests found coliform bacteria, including one case of E. coli, on ice machines in six different hotel chains. (CBC)
Ice machines and air vents in hotels tested by CBC Marketplace were found to house potentially dangerous bacteria, including E. coli.Analysis of air vents unearthed mould, rust, dust and pathogens, while bacterial tests on ice machines discovered coliforms, a possible sign of fecal contamination. Traces of coliform bacteria were found on ice machines in each of the six hotel chains tested. One test found a non-deadly strain of E. coli bacteria. Poor maintenance is giving rise to potentially dangerous bugs, said microbiologist Keith Warriner. "That's substandard," he said. "That's not what you would expect from a hotel, be it a budget hotel or a high end. "The minimum standard is to have clean ice, and it's not difficult," he said. "All you have to do is maintain the machine… and it's obvious they're not doing that."

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Join us on a tour of IPIA member, Arctic Ice in St. Louis, Mo. See how packaged ice is produced in a food grade environment for a safe and sanitary food product for the consumer: