Friday, March 11, 2011

What is the Legal Definition of ‘Ice Cream’?

Image via Wikipedia
I never thought I would have to ask that question.

I was at the grocery store. I wanted ice cream. Not just any ice cream, chocolate ice cream. The suggestion had been put into my head during a recent Twitter conversation—I'm easily influenced when it comes to dessert foods.

The ice cream selection at the local supermarket is unbelievable…it's huge! I don't buy ice cream very often but I do know that I can just pass the frozen yogurt, ‘lite’, soy, rice, non-dairy, sorbet, and otherwise marked package right by. If I'm going to eat ice cream, I want ice cream, full-fat and full-flavor.

This particular grocery store didn't carry my favorite (and trusted) brand, Blue Bunny, so I was forced to find an alternative. Pint-sized premiums like Ben & Jerrys, Haagen Dazs, or Starbucks were out. A pint is [almost] too much to eat in one sitting but since any amount left in a pint is "too little to save, I might as well eat it all…" I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to pints.
But, hey, Dreyer’s/Edy’s is a good brand, right? Of course!

Image via
Choosing a flavor is the next hurdle for me. Just plain chocolate? Maybe, but how about some “brownie” chunks to make it really delicious? Enter Dreyer’s/Edy’s ”Fun Flavors” Double Fudge Brownie.
"Chocolate lovers, this is for you! Chunks of chocolaty brownies and swirls of fudge in chocolate flavor frozen dairy dessert.”
What a delightful-sounding flavor. That was my best choice. FYI, the Girl Scout Cookie “Fun Flavors” weren't out yet or I'd be munching on a bowl of Samoa's or Thin Mints “Fun Flavors” instead. Or would I?

Remember When Ice Cream Was Ice Cream?

I was scooping up a pre-midnight snack of Double Fudge Brownie goodness when I noticed the carton label said, in really small letters on the back label, “Frozen dairy dessert.”

I'm sorrry…what?

“Frozen dairy dessert.”

Okay. Why is this, for whatever reason, not ice cream? Why can't it just be ice cream? After all, what I really wanted was ice cream. What makes this not ice cream? I'm truly incensed that I was duped into buying “frozen dairy dessert”!

So what is the legal definition of ice cream? I decided to Google that, of course. I took the first hit because the URL was intriguing as all get out: LOL…"news‘n’"—I'm just jealous I didn't think of it first. That link has enough explanation to keep me happy:
“In accordance with the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, the Food and Drug Administration enforces a set of standards which regulate the labeling of food products.

Ice cream is defined as a frozen food made from a mixture of dairy products, containing at least 10% milkfat.”
 The ”Fun Flavors” “Frozen Dairy Dessert” labeled products have 45 out of 150 calories of fat-per-serving. The “Grand” products are the real-deal ice cream with 70 out of 150 calories of fat-per-serving.

“Frozen dairy dessert”…honestly…

Image via
The Wendy's Frosty, if you will notice, is also a “Frozen dairy dessert”, and it says so right on the menu boards at the restaurants. Here's a fun Wikipedia factoid you may not know about the Frosty:
“The Frosty was invented at Wendy's owner Dave Thomas' request by dairyman E.M. "Bill" Barker. When the first Wendy's opened in 1969, chocolate was the only flavor available. The actual flavor of the original Frosty is a mixture of chocolate and vanilla. Dave Thomas thought that 100% chocolate was too overpowering a flavor when paired with a Wendy's burger and fries meal. The second Frosty flavor, vanilla, was introduced in 2006.”
Dairy Queen's regular soft-serve is 95% fat-free and is not “ice cream”.

Baskin Robbins sells real ice cream, as always, in scoops. In 2008 they introduced "Soft Serve". If you will notice on their site, Baskin Robbins is very careful to not use the term “ice cream” with anything related to their Soft Serve products.

Next time, I'll go Dreyer's Grand…except they don't put Girl Scout Cookies in that. I’ll have to pick up a box of Samoas or Thin Mints on the way out of the store and add them myself!
---------------------- File:Ice Cream dessert 02.jpg Author: Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Quote and image, Double Fudge Brownie information page. May 25, 2010, Wendy’s Frosty Gets a Social Media Infusion. Wikipedia, Dairy Queen: Products: Frozen Yogurt


  1. Oh wow, I will be snorting over this the rest of today. That's so wrong you were duped over the frozen dairy dessert. And even worse that Comcast is censoring pages you wish to view. wth?

  2. When I read the post the next morning, I realized that the Comcast comment really didn't fit. Well, that and I couldn't really PROVE that is what was going on because the iPhone and iPad seemed to access the page just fine—but using Safari as the browser rather than Firefox, so who really knows?

  3. Hey. Where did you find soy ice-cream? Didn't know it was available. Supposed to be a healthy alternative. Where do they sell those?