Unfortunately the long warm summer days have come and gone yet again, but it is important for those who continue to enjoy the sweet treat of ice cream year round, to recognize what it is they are actually savoring. It’s not breaking news to farmers in the dairy industry that they have been sold off as producing what many perceive as ‘real ice cream’. A quick read of many ingredient labels will easily uncover the deception that in many claimed ‘ice cream’ products, the actual content of fluid milk is zero. But let’s be serious, how many consumers go through and read all the ingredient lists of the foods that they purchase at the grocery store? I’m willing to bet little to none. Modified milk ingredients can be commonly found on the label and little do many people know that these are NOT real milk (usually include skim milk powder or milk protein concentrates or whey protein concentrates, etc.). These modified milk ingredients (or fake milk as I like to say) are usually imported from other countries, meaning they are not Canadian milk!
Fortunately for dairy farmers and consumers a like new recent regulations have forced food processors of ice cream to clearly state the definition of their product, whether it be real ice cream or frozen dessert. Processors must now follow strict ingredients rules in order for them to classify their ice cream as real and if these requirements are not met then they are prohibited from printing ice cream on the label. To clarify, real ice cream must be made with a certain percentage of fluid milk where as, frozen dessert is processed using modified milk ingredients. Some of the major ice cream distributors jumped on the wagon and began making it clear that the products they make are made with real milk. Companies such as Chapman’s and Breyers have adopted ice cream miking practices that involve real milk ingredients instead of fake ones.
I cannot personally stress how important it is to READ FOOD LABELS!! Not only in regards to ice cream, but also when purchasing produce and meats especially. Typically consumers think that the food industry and in return farmers are tricking them into buying items that have been brought half way around the world when they want local foods. The fact in the matter is that farmers have very little say into what gets printed on the packaging at the grocery store. All we as farmers can do is emphasize how critically essential it is for consumers to read labels and if no print is available then ask!! Get to the bottom of where your food is coming from if you are really concerned. I think that it is wonderful that people are demanding local food, but this goes beyond simply purchasing your produce the farmers market. Make it your responsibility as a consumer to support Canadian agriculture and know the difference between real ice cream and frozen dessert. After you indulge in rich creaminess of real ice cream, you’ll never want anything but!