Restaurants Eye Flaked Ice, Continue Safety Focus
Forms of flaked ice — including variations such as chipped, chiplets, nuggets, and shaved — are gaining increased attention, as was evident here at the most recent Restaurant-Hotel-Motel Show, sponsored by the National Restaurant Association (NRA).
A second focus from the same show was on health safety. New techniques were shown in coating evaporators and other components to deter bacteria growth.
ICE AND SAFETY ISSUESFlaked ice is most familiar in the supermarket industry. Its increased attention in restaurants reflects interests that range from display cases in delis and buffets, to use in margaritas.
Manitowoc (Manitowoc, WI) showed a couple variations of flake ice making. Chiplet “chewable” ice was shown in a 700-lb-per-day unit and dry, hard flake ice was featured in an 800-lb daily production unit. Both machines use auger technology from the German company Ziegra that includes a flexible drive coupling so that torque is not lost. Plans were announced to continue to expand the range of ice machines using the auger technology.
Scotsman (Vernon Hills, IL) introduced ice machine/dispensers with rounded corners for a more modern appearance. The units make a nugget form of ice for use with drinking water. Touch-free technology was part of the company’s focus on safety.
The company also noted it has completed its line of CM cubers that range from 200 to 2,000 lbs of production a day.
Hoshizaki (Peachtree City, GA) showed flakers as part of its H Series with rounded corners and an air filter than can be slid out for servicing rather than having to remove screws. The flakers now range from 450 up to 2,000 lb per day of production.
Also new at the booth was the SafeTemp range of reach-in coolers and freezers that have stainless steel doors and aluminum siding. Booth officials said the line meets the same standards as the higher-end Tempguard line, but without some of the upgrade features such as the Evercheck diagnosis board. SafeTemp refrigerators use R-134a and cap tubes, while the freezers use R-404A and expansion valves.
Follett (Easton, PA) promised “music to your ears” with its Symphony Series ice and water dispensers. Included was the Maestro icemaker, an auger unit that produces compressed nugget ice.
Kold-Draft (Erie, PA) showed a unit that makes crushed ice or standard cubes. The unit produces cubed ice within a horizontal evaporator. Upon harvest, the end user has the choice of allowing the ice to drop into a bin as cubes, or first going through an ice-crushing mechanism for deposit into an adjoining bin.
Vogt (Louisville, KY) featured tube ice in machines down to 2,000 lbs in 24 hrs of production, one of the smaller units in the company’s line.
Ice-O-Matic (Denver, CO) showed a 22-in. cuber line, including models with 350 to 530 lbs of production a day. Technology was called “as basic as you can get,” with electromechanical controls.
The company also featured an antimicrobial coating, called AgION, on select models. The coating covered the evaporator, water curtain, water distributor tube, and water sump. Booth officials said the silver-based material works as an ion exchange to kill 600 waterborne bacteria should they enter the machine. It won’t affect production or servicing, booth officials said.
The creator of the coating, AgION Technologies (Boston, MA) shared booth space at the show with AK Steel (Middle-town, OH). Booth officials noted the AgION antimicrobial compound has three key components: silver ions, silver zeolite, and an ion exchange release mechanism.
“In the presence of moisture, the silver zeolite acts as an ion pump, providing the controlled time release of the silver ions into the environment in exchange for sodium ions from the environment,” said booth personnel. “The controlled release provides continuous antimicrobial protection from the environment.”
At the same time, officials said the antimicrobial “is not intended as a substitute for good hygiene.” They recommended service technicians continue regular cleaning of ice machines.
IMI Cornelius (Anoka, MN) introduced a line of ice-making machines called Xtreme Ice. A 500-lb/day unit was shown. The line is said to encompass eight models from 300 to 2,400 lbs/day.
“Benefits [include] Xtreme Ice’s lowest cost per 100 lbs of ice production, the most consistent ice harvest control in the industry, and interchangeable front panel graphics,” said IMI’s Rick Brua.
Food safety was also of concern to Cooper Instruments (Middle-field, CT). Its Model 461 food safety infrared thermometer was said to be targeted for accuracy between 32? and 150?F. It has 4:1 optics, laser sighting, and 7-sec temperature hold. A mini datalogger allows for the tracking of the temperature of perishable products.
Noncontact temperature reading was also touted by Raytek (Santa Cruz, CA). One item, the MiniTemp FS, was geared for food inspection and food service in a –25? to 400? range.
DeltaTrak (Pleasanton, CA) showed a heat/cool thermometer with a timer and a FlashCheck electronic thermostat, the latter said to go from room temperature to 32? in 3 sec.
REFRIGERATION EQUIPMENTHussmann (Bridgeton, MO) focused on its Protocol concept of refrigeration. The technology, best known for supermarket uses, was targeted at this expo for use in restaurants. Both vertical and horizontal configurations were displayed at the show.
The company’s Bob Baker said the design means “You can send one refrigeration line for use with freezers, coolers, and display cases. Instead of a dedicated compressor for each of your loads and instead of 10 or 12 sets of line, you will have one set of lines and branch off to each fixture.”
Master-Bilt (New Albany, MS) showed equipment that included UC Series under-counter refrigerators/freezers and CCR Series solid-door, reach-in refrigerators/freezers. The company noted that the CCR line includes freezer models with electronically controlled alarm functions and “an oversized and balanced refrigeration system to guarantee consistent interior temperatures.”
Bally (Morehead City, NC) noted that its pre-engineered walk-in coolers and freezers, as well as its Thermo-Plug refrigeration system, offer reduced height to allow for more headroom in the cooler.
Institutional walk-ins were shown by Elliott-Williams Co. (Indianapolis, IN), along with the FreezeFast roll-in blast freezer. Four high-velocity industrial fans provide more than 25 air changes per minute.
Hobart (Troy, OH) debuted its Q Series refrigeration units. Large evaporator coils were designed to reduce dehydration.
Delfield (Mount Pleasant, MI) showed a way to offer refrigerated and dry merchandising in the same unit.
Nor-Lake (Hudson, WI) highlighted Kold Locker walk-ins with the Capsule Pak refrigeration system and flush coil. The unit’s automatic condensate vaporizer means there’s no drain line required for indoor units, according to the company.
Beverage-Air (Spartanburg, SC), showcased as part of the Carrier family of companies, included a cold beverage merchandiser in its display area. The unit was said to cool with R-134a.
Personnel at the booth of Forma-Kool (Chesterfield, MI) told attendees that the company offers replacement parts for walk-ins, including doors, jambs, closers, and strip curtains.
Eliason (Kalamazoo, MI) also featured replacements for heavy-duty cooler and freezer doors.
PORTABLE COOLINGAmong offerings from Polar King (Fort Wayne, IN) were transportable coolers and freezers that can be hooked to a towing vehicle. Smaller in size than refrigerated trucks or trailers, the units contain their own mechanical refrigeration and are targeted for catering and short-term outdoor events.
Sport-a-Cool, a portable personal cooler from Port-A-Cool (Center, TX), uses a two-speed fan and is said to create a 16? to 20? drop in humidity. It can be used on golf carts, boats and RVs.
Mad Cow Disease and Food SafetyCHICAGO, IL — “The United States’ food supply is the safest in the world.”
That was part of a statement from the National Restaurant Association, issued in conjunction with its annual expo here. It came in response to concerns over bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or “Mad Cow Disease,” that has become a major issue overseas.
“Strict BSE-prevention measures in the U.S. … and the government’s and food industry’s commitment to ongoing vigilance justify strong confidence” in U.S. food safety, according to the statement.
Other comments issued by NRA as the result of an April 11 meeting in Washington, DC, with government agencies, suppliers, and scientists included: