One third of Czech ice cream parlors do not meet health standards, inspectors find

In many cases, the consumer may not even know the ice cream facility is not up to code

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro
Published on 14.08.2020 10:00 (updated on 14.08.2020)

One third of Czech ice cream parlors do not meet health and safety standards, according to inspection records obtained by Rozhlas.cz.

In many cases, the consumer might not even know that their ice cream doesn’t meet health and safety standards.

Each year, the State Agricultural and Food Inspection Authority officials will visit ice cream stores across Prague and inspect a variety of the store’s health and safety features, from the ice cream machines to the way they store the ice cream. Officials will ask an employee to prepare one sample, and they will observe the process and then take an ice cream sample back to their lab for testing.

“When taking samples, we focus mainly on ice cream with a milk component, because the growth of microorganisms can occur during longer storage,” inspector Pavel Haas told Rozhlas.cz. “In this case, we will take a sample for listeria and salmonella. We will check the room sensors to see if it is clean, if there are any impurities. Then we also check the environment around where the ice cream is handed over to the customer. ”

So far, they have completed about half of their planned inspections, and according to spokesman Pavel Kopřiva, the results weren’t much of an improvement from last year.

This year, 30 percent of ice cream samples did not meet microbiological parameters for health and safety; 43 percent of iced drinks did not meet those same standards.

The results are similar to last year, where between 25 and 30 percent of ice cream samples did not meet microbiological parameters, and 40 to 45 percent of iced drinks did not.

Many of the ice cream shops underestimate the importance of hygiene measures.

“They resign themselves to intermittent cleaning of ice cream machines and equipment for the production of ice for drinks,” Kopřiva said. “These devices require regular, practically daily care and disinfection, so that bacterial contamination cannot be transmitted.”

In the cases of health violations, the inspector will prohibit an ice cream shop from producing ice cream or ice until tests show that their products are up to code.

It can be hard for the consumer to spot issues with health and safety in many cases. A lot of it should be visible, though, when you enter the store — if you know what to watch out for.

“It’s definitely a good idea to see if the operator has protective equipment, such as gloves, and if he doesn’t use the same hand for money. It also depends on the surroundings – when we see that there is dirt, it already indicates that some microorganisms could get there,” inspector Haas said. “We also look in detail at what it looks like under all those products. The interior is quite crucial to make the ice cream satisfactory.”