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Food Safety Focus (125th Issue, December 2016) – Food Incident Highlight

Soft Ice-cream and Food Safety

Last month, the Centre for Food Safety found some soft ice-cream samples in a retail outlet containing total bacterial counts and coliform counts exceeding the legal limits. Soft ice-cream failing this bacteriological standard suggests suboptimal hygienic conditions of its processing, but does not necessarily mean that consumption would lead to food poisoning.

Soft ice-cream is typically kept at refrigeration temperature. Poor hygiene and cleaning of the soft ice-cream dispensing machines can lead to Listeria contaminating the machine. Pregnant women should consider avoiding soft ice-cream to prevent listeriosis. Food premises providing soft ice-cream are advised to observe the Food Safety Advice for Manufacture and Sale of Frozen Confections. This includes: 1) checking the temperature of soft ice-cream dispensing machines regularly; 2) arranging regular inspection, maintenance and repair of soft ice-cream dispensing machine; and 3) providing regular training to food handlers on the operation of equipment (include cleaning of soft ice-cream dispensing machine) and hygienic practices.