Ice...(is still) the Forgotten Food

Every 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.