Ice cream really hits the spot on a scorching summer day, but you have to eat it fast before it melts.
Or, do you?
An Australian grandmother is calling foul after she gave her grandson an ice cream sandwich that didn’t melt after days in the sun. Here’s how it went down: The ice cream sandwich broke into two pieces and Mary Salter’s grandson threw it into the grass. She decided to leave it there for the animals and insects to enjoy, but “after four days in 26-degree (Cº) heat on cement it has not melted and nothing has volunteered to eat it,” she wrote.
“Now I am a little concerned just what is in this ‘treat’,” she added in a Facebook post to the company.
Coles replied to Salter in a private message, according to Buzzfeed.
“Our ice cream sandwiches make use of very simple, commonly-used food techniques that help slow the melting process, and allows you to consume it without it falling apart in your hands,” they wrote. “These techniques include adding thickener to the cream, creating a honeycomb-like structure which helps to slow the melting process. When the product starts to melt and liquid evaporates, you are left with what appears to be foam.”
Mmmm… foam. Appetizing.
This isn’t the first case of non-melting ice cream. In 2014, Charlie Wilson gave her son a Walmart Great Value ice cream sandwich that stayed the same shape after hours in the sun.
“Monday I came out and looked at it and there was still ice cream there, so I thought to myself, ‘What am I feeding to my children?'” she said.
But the big question: Are these ice cream sandwiches OK to eat? Yes, according to a food scientist.
“Stabilizers have gotten a bad rep because it’s foreign and sounds suspect,” Grace Yek told Fox 17 in 2014.
“They do serve a purpose in that they give even high-quality ice cream that mouth feel, that creamy texture, and the minimization of ice crystals.”
The nutrition label on the Coles sandwich also shows emulsifiers in the ingredients list, which are also vital to keep certain foods together.
“In the food industry it is necessary to combine ingredients that would otherwise like to stay separated to make the final product we want,” dietician Kiah Witney-Cochrane told PopSugar, and the milk fat and water in the ice cream sandwich would separate without them.
“Most of the major stabilisers are extracted from plants as well as animal by-products, such as gelatine,” Kiah told PopSugar. “That said, all additives must abide by stringent regulations that are regularly governed to ensure there are no adverse effects on our bodies.”
So while insects might not eat a Coles — or a Walmart — ice cream sandwich, they’re still safe to eat, even if they will outlive cockroaches and Twinkies.