Did you know that it is almost impossible to find true ice cream in your supermarket aisles? I first learned of this problem when I was shopping with a friend who was pregnant and suffering from gestational diabetes. Her doctor told her that she could have ice cream as long as the first ingredient listed on the container was cream. You’d think a product with “cream” in its title would be made mostly of cream; and you’d be right, but what you may not realize is most of these products don’t have “cream” anywhere in the title. In addition, most aren’t even called ice cream when you look at the fine print on the container; they are called a “frozen dessert”. When I see this, I am immediately suspicious, forcing my skeptical eyes towards the ingredient label. Most of the time, the first ingredient is Modified Milk Ingredients (MMI’s).
So what are MMI’s? They are derived from milk and consist of products such as butteroil, whey, casein, and if you are lucky, powdered milk. Miss Tuffet would be rolling over in her grave if she knew how her precious whey was being used. Whey is a byproduct of cheese manufacturing; the liquid that remains after the milk has been curdled and strained. I’ll leave that for the spider thanks! Butteroil is 50% sugar. Casein is isolated milk protein. Most MMI’s are imported from Australia or New Zealand for a cheap cost as they are not considered “fresh milk” and are therefore not subject to the same import tax. In Canada, a food can be labeled as “Made in Canada” if 50% or more of the cost of product manufacturing takes place in Canada. What does this mean? Well, if you get your modified milk ingredients from New Zealand, your chocolate chips from the United States and your mint flavoring from China, but mix the ingredients into a frozen dessert in Canada and pour them into a Canadian made container, you can label it as a “Product of Canada”. For more information on “Made in Canada” products, check out the CBC Marketplace special.
How do they make frozen dessert taste creamy? They add various guar gums and carrageenan and other stuff to give the dessert its trademark creamy texture which, rather than being creamy, is more gummy.