Ice-cream sellers could give their customers food poisoning unless they improve their food safety practises, it was claimed today. The long-awaited arrival of summer weather is expected to drive up the sales of ice cream, and the risk to consumers.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said that while it had few concerns about pre-packaged ice-cream products, it was worried about the safety of soft and whipped ice-cream being sold from stalls, shop counters and vans.
Chief food science specialist Dr Wayne Anderson warned that ice-cream sellers with poor hygiene and handling practices could spread bacteria and put their customers at risk of food poisoning.
“It is therefore vital that we advise food handlers and food business owners and managers nationwide to ensure that the necessary food-hygiene practices are in place when serving soft-serve ice-cream, in order to protect consumer health,” he said.
Ice-cream vendors can spread bacteria through inadequate hand washing, using dirty machines and equipment, using utensils that have not been cleaned properly before use and using unclean dish cloths or serving cloths.
The FSAI is calling on ice-cream vendors to take a number of personal precautions including wearing clean protective clothing, keeping all cuts and grazes covered and trying not to cough or sneeze around ice cream. It also wants them to stop serving ice cream if they are ill.