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CAFIA found exceptionally high number of non-compliant ice cream and beverage ice this year, when 56% of ice cream and 75% of ice samples were assessed as failing


Running results of inspections performed by the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (CAFIA) in this season have confirmed that a large number of operators fail to comply with prescribed procedures for production of scooped and soft serve ice cream as well as ice added to drinks. Compared to the previous seasons, an exceptionally high proportion of samples failed to meet legal requirements, particularly as regards limits for presence of bacteria, and these foodstuffs therefore pose a risk to consumers. The proportion of non-compliant samples detected this year is the highest for the last six years.

In the period to 15 August 2022, a total of 56% of samples of ice cream and 75% of samples of ice for beverages failed.

During the inspections, CAFIA inspectors focus, among other things, on compliance with safety and quality parameters of the above-mentioned foodstuffs, including inspection of the equipment used for preparation. Inspectors performed the inspections mainly in confectioneries and other public catering establishments.

In 2022, CAFIA inspectors have evaluated 109 samples of soft serve and scooped ice cream in a laboratory so far, and 61 of them (56%) failed to comply with hygiene limits. Laboratory analyses of the ice cream samples confirmed numbers of Enterobacteriaceae colonies above the limit. The main causes of the non-compliant results were non-compliance with production hygiene, inadequate sanitation of the equipment and non-compliance with the production procedures for preparation of ice cream. Insufficient training of the staff may also play a role. One of the characteristic causes of problems with ice cream is undesirable practice of operators consisting in not disposing the ice cream at the end of the day but returning it into the machine the next day, which can lead to the transfer of bacterial contamination from the machine to the ice cream mix and back again. Vanilla ice cream predominates among the non-compliant samples, which can be attributed to the prevalence of this flavour.

As regards ice cream inspections, 48.3% of samples which were assessed in 2021 failed to comply with the legislation requirements, 51% of samples failed to comply in 2020, 37% of samples failed in 2019, 30% in 2018, and finally 26% in 2017.

CAFIA inspectors have completed evaluation of 65 samples of beverage ice so far (until 15 August 2022), and 49 of them (75%) failed to meet health or hygiene limits. The monitored parameters included presence of Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfringens, enterococci, coliforms, bacterial colonies growing at 22°C and 36°C, and presence of live microorganisms (e.g. flagella). Underestimation of hygiene practices during production of ice and regular disinfection of ice makers can be identified as the main cause of the non-compliant detections.

As regards inspections of ice, 68.6% of the samples failed to comply with legislation requirements in 2021, 51% of the samples failed in 2020, 40% of the samples failed in 2019, 47% in 2018, and 45% in 2017.

The results of this year's inspections and inspections in the previous years show that a significant proportion of operators still grossly underestimate the risks associated with hygiene procedures during production, storage and sale of this assortment as well as they neglect maintenance and proper periodic disinfection of production facilities resulting in violation of hygiene limits for presence of micro-organisms and possible health risks to consumers.

The proportion of non-compliant samples cannot be generalised for the whole market, as CAFIA selects the samples for sampling according to risk analysis, and the establishments where problems are expected are checked more frequently. However, even problem-free operators are regularly checked, however, in a lower frequency.

In the establishments, where the unsatisfactory samples were taken, the inspectors banned the use of equipment (e.g. ice cream machines and related tools) on the spot and production of ice as well as they ordered the operators to sanitise the equipment and then have it analysed for microbiology in an accredited laboratory. The ban will be lifted only after a satisfactory analysis result; then the equipment can be used again.

CAFIA will initiate an administrative procedure on imposition of a fine with the inspected persons.


Article by: Mgr. Pavel Kopřiva – CAFIA Spokesperson, phone: +420 542 426 633   

17th August 2022