Ice Cream is without a question a guilty pleasure. These scorching days of August, awaken the desire for a cold delicious ice cream with: berries, vanilla or chocolate. But did you ever wonder about the real ingredients of commercial ice cream? Good old fashioned recipes might have changed. However many commercial ice creams today are simply chemical concoctions presented in appealing packaging designed to sell a product that is not fit for human consumption. Although legislation in some Western countries does not require ice cream makers to label all of their ingredients, information is not that hard to find. Everything from hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and dry milk solids are used to produce something still allowed to be called ice cream. In addition they also contain propylene glycol, ethyl acetate, and yellow dye #5 associated to migraine, allergies, asthma, anxiety and behavioral problems. Some pretty frightening sounding chemicals like diethyl glycol -- a cheap chemical used to take the place of eggs, which is also used in anti-freeze and paint removers- are additives to commercial ice cream. Aldehyde C-17, flavoring for cherry ice cream, is an inflammable liquid used in dyes, plastics, and rubber. Piperonal, used in place of vanilla, is a lice killer. Ethyl Acetate, a pineapple flavor, can also clean leather and textiles. Ethyl Acetate's vapor has been known to cause chronic lung, liver, and heart damage.

Dangers from outdated ice cream

Food-borne illness or food poisoning is the primary danger of eating outdated ice cream; But the date on the container is not the only information you need to decide whether ice cream is safe to eat. It also matters how long ago it was purchased, when it was opened and how safely it has been stored.

Potential Risks

Bacterial contamination is the main danger posed by old ice cream. Foods spoiled by bacteria -- which may look, smell and taste just fine -- can make us sick. Bacteria thrive in protein-rich foods that are also full of water including eggs, poultry, meat, fish and milk products. Freezing ice cream and other frozen dairy products slows bacterial growth but doesn't kill the bacteria, which begin to grow again as food thaws. The risk of food-borne illness increases after ice cream has been opened and used. Discard any ice cream that thaws completely, due to the danger of bacterial growth.

Many commercial ice creams today are simply chemical concoctions presented in appealing packaging designed to sell a product that is not fit for human consumption. Photo: WebLibrary

Buying Ice Cream

Buy ice cream, ice milk, frozen yogurt and sherbet by the date stamped on the carton, which is the “sell by” date. Make sure that ice cream and other frozen desserts are frozen solid and that the container is not frosted or sticky, an indication that it has partially thawed at some point.. Ice cream that hasn’t been opened can be safely stored at home at -17 Celsius degrees for up to two months. If you plan to store ice cream for longer than a month, wrap the carton with plastic wrap or freezer paper to preserve the ice cream’s quality.

How to tell if an ice cream has gone bad

To tell if ice cream has gone bad, look closely at the ice cream. A common trait of bad ice cream is very tiny ice shards forming on top of the ice cream and under the lid of the container. At the beginning, this top layer can be removed so you can still indulge to the bottom of the carton. But after these ice crystals have taken root they will turn the entire carton to a gooey, icy texture that you will not want to mess with.

Best ice cream is the one made at home

Ice cream can be a delicious way to get healthy fat, calcium, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals (if using real raw cream, egg yolks, and pure maple syrup) into children that are sometimes not big milk drinkers. Making your own ice cream is relatively simple even if you don't have the time, or desire, to make your own ice cream, And stop worrying about the fat content; it's some of those dubious vegetable oils you should be concerned about. Next time, fore go the antifreeze, oil paint, leather cleaner, and lice killer for something that resembles food. Food is supposed to taste good, just keep it simple and healthy! Recipes are rather simple. All you need is milk, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla extract, nuts or berries and cream. Enjoy and stay healthy./