Big screen bacteria: ice in cinemas found to be unacceptably contaminated

10th of May 2018

Hubbard highlights the simple measures that could avoid similar cases


A report on BBC’s Watchdog programme has found high levels of bacteria in ice at three top cinema chains. In one instance, levels of bacteria were found to be 10,000 times higher than acceptable levels.


Hubbard Systems, which markets the Scotsman range of ice machines, says it’s vital the industry gets serious about cracking down on poor hygiene practices that lead to the issue.  “It’s obvious that the message isn’t getting through,” says Mark Stebbings, operations manager at Hubbard Systems.  “Every year for as long as I can remember similar issues have happened.  And every year ice machine suppliers point out the simple measures that need to be taken to sort it out.”

So, the simple dos and don’ts for clean ice:

Keep hands clean – staff should always wash their hands before and during service.

Keep the machine clean – by following the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Make sure you empty, clean and sanitise the storage bin on a regular, weekly basis.

Don’t pick up ice with your hands – use a scoop. Consider using a Guardian scoop, which will further protect the ice

If your machine is fitted with an anti-bacterial system, change the anti-bac bag every month.

Have a maintenance schedule for the components that need regular cleaning: it will help keep your equipment in peak condition.


“There are lots of online resources that can help anyone looking for guidance on cleaning ice machines, such as our ‘how to’ videos, which can be found in the video area at,” says Mark. “With all the information available, there’s simply no excuse for poor hygiene.”  Any operator who is concerned about a potential problem with their ice machine can use the 3M Clean ‘n Trace kit, available from many outlets including Hubbard Systems. The operator just swabs the area – in this case the inside of the storage bin – then pops the swab into a solution that will change colour to show if there is an issue with bacteria.Hubbard Systems is the UK distributor for the market-leading Scotsman range, which is available via dealers nationwide.  For more information on the full range of Scotsman ice machines, and details of local stockists, freephone Hubbard Systems on 0800 616559, call 01473 350045 email or visit*See