I hate to buy ice. It’s water. It can come out of my tap. Heading to the local liquor store to buy it out of a freezer always seems like a waste to me. Yet, several times a year I find myself asking my husband to run out and buy ice. Whatever celebration we’re having requires more ice than my freezer can handle, even if I made it for several days beforehand.

I never thought about the safety of the ice I’ve bought before until I received an email from The International Packaged Ice Association the other day. It seems that bagged ice can become contaminated from “impure water, contaminated ice-making machines, or improper handling of the ice.”

If that happens, salmonella, E.Coli, and other undesirable germs and bacteria can taint the ice. Apparently, it’s not just the safety of our ground beef we have to worry about when having a cookout.

The International Packaged Ice Association has tips so that consumers can be sure that the packaged ice they’re buying is clean and safe.
  1. The bag must be properly closed and secure without drawstring ties 

  2. Ice should be clear, odorless, and tasteless 

  3. The bag should have a product code for traceability 

  4. The bag must be free of any foreign objects or particles 

  5. The bag must have the manufacturer's name, address and phone number

Over the next few weeks, many of us will be having end-of-summer and Labor Day celebrations. When you’re planning yours, make sure that you take the safety of the ice that you serve into consideration as well as the safety of the food you’re serving.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

5 tips for safe packaged ice
If you’re buying ice for your summer parties, we’ve got some tips to make sure there’s nothing but water in that ice.