This year, the State Agricultural and Food Inspection Authority (SZPI) has revealed exceptionally high proportions of substandard ice cream and ice in drinks. In interim checks carried out until mid-August, 56 percent of ice cream samples and 75 percent of ice samples failed.
“A large number of operators are not following prescribed procedures. Compared to previous seasons, an exceptionally high proportion of the samples taken did not meet the requirements of the legislation, especially in the area of limits for the presence of bacteria, and such foods pose a risk to consumer health,” said SZPI spokesman Pavel Kopřiva.
Yesterday’s batches are being returned to the machine
He added that this year’s detected proportions of non-compliant samples are the highest in the last six years. Inspection results have been steadily deteriorating in recent years. While 48.3 percent of ice creams failed last year, in 2017, it was 26 percent.
So far this year, SZPI inspectors have laboratory-tested 109 samples of ice cream, with 61 of them failing to meet hygiene standards.
“The main causes of the unsatisfactory results can be considered to be non-compliance with the hygiene of production, insufficient sanitation of equipment, and non-compliance with the production procedure when preparing ice cream,” Kopřiva said.
Inadequate training of staff may also play a role
Operators often do not dispose of the ice cream at the end of the day but return it to the machine the following day, which can lead to the transfer of bacterial contamination from the machine to the ice cream mixture and back again.
The worst is vanilla
Vanilla ice cream predominates among the non-compliant samples.
Inspections of beverage ice have shown that operators often underestimate the regular disinfection of the machines.
In establishments where inspectors took non-compliant samples, they banned the use of the equipment on the spot, ordered the operator to sanitize it, and then have it microbiologically analyzed by an accredited laboratory.
The inspectors will only allow the equipment to be used again after a satisfactory analysis result.
“SZPI will initiate administrative proceedings with the operators concerned to impose a sanction,” the spokesman concluded.