Soft-serve, commonly referred to as “whipped ice cream” or sold under the names Mr. Whippy or Mr. Softee, may not be safe to consume while pregnant. Many expectant mothers believe that pasteurization is to blame, however this is rarely the case.
The majority of them are created using pasteurized ingredients because the machine uses a commercial mix (either as a powder or a ready-mixed liquid). This is typically made with pasteurized milk and/or cream because it is commercially produced.
The device dispensing it is the major problem. The liquid ice cream is kept at a cool, but not freezing, temperature by the soft-serve machine, and it is then served in its customary “whipped” form. Listeria can grow within this machine if it isn’t cleaned completely and frequently.
Soft-serve machines are the perfect breeding grounds for Listeria since it thrives in chilly environments. Numerous establishments that sell soft serve (or products created using the same machine, like milkshakes), employ strict cleaning procedures and keep hygienic equipment.
If you choose to consume soft-serve, however, you are putting your complete trust in the previous person (or people) who cleaned the machine and you are counting on them to have done a thorough job each and every time.
Naturally, they typically do as nobody wants to poison their clients!
However, there is no reliable method to know, therefore it is best for pregnant women to stay away from soft-serve. Soft-serve machine outbreaks of listeria are uncommon.
However, they do occur and have in the past, as evidenced by the two occurrences from the same machine that Public Health Insider reported in 2016.
You may wish to substitute the regular store-bought varieties in a pint, tub, or on a stick during your pregnancy because it’s OK for pregnant women to consume ice cream that isn’t soft-serve. Otherwise, if you truly want to consume soft serve, you must decide if you want to take a risk or not.
By inquiring about the machine, the cleaning schedule, or researching the restaurant’s public health history, you can more accurately assess your risk.
Common sense dictates that buying a soft-serve cone from a sketchy-looking street vendor or van is a bad idea, as opposed to a chain restaurant’s soft-serve, perhaps at a location where you can ask the employees.
The most secure choice, however, is to stay away from soft-serve ice cream when pregnant and settle for ordinary flavor. also create your own! (See underneath.
Ice cream is frequently pasteurized.
- Ice creams are dairy-based frozen delicacies that are typically eaten as sweets or as snacks. According to federal laws or standards of identity, ice cream must have 20% of all milk solids by weight and a minimum of 10% milk fat.
- According to one school of thinking, ice cream originated as a lavish dessert in the Roman Empire around the year 5468. According to legend, the Roman Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar employed slaves to collect snow in the mountains, which was then used to flavor ice cream with fruits and juices.
- There were 1,150 illnesses, 92 hospitalizations, and 5 fatalities as a result of at least 88 ice cream-related outbreaks that were reported to the CDC’s National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) between 2000 and 2020.
- Bacteria, parasites, toxins, and viruses in ice cream can result in foodborne illness and deterioration. The pathogenic bacteria Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and Campylobacter jejuni are frequently to blame for ice cream outbreak situations.
Blended dairy ingredients are pasteurized and homogenized to create ice cream, a popular dessert food (typically milk, condensed milk, butterfat, and cream). Additionally, the mixture includes sweeteners, flavorings, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and colorings. Occasionally, to create a desired ice cream flavor, additional toppings such fruits, nuts, colored sugar, and candy bits are added. The mixture is then put into a freezer while air is added. Overrun, a term for the addition of air, affects how light or dense ice cream is. Ice cream would resemble a frozen ice cube if it were devoid of air. The ice cream is then put into the container used for packing. The ice cream is then immediately cooled to a holding temperature of less than -13F (-25C).
The Roman Empire (A.D. 54–86) is claimed to be the birthplace of ice cream, when Nero Claudius Cesar would send runners to gather snow in the mountains so it could be flavored with fruit and liquids. After Marco Polo brought sherbet to Italy, the formula was changed to make ice cream sometime in the 16th century. It’s possible that England invented ice cream before or at the same time as the Italians. The dessert was introduced to America in the late 1700s, and through the middle of the 18th century, only the wealthy could afford to eat it. As ice cream production and efficiency were increased by the use of steam power, refrigeration, homogenizers, and new freezing technologies, the industry quickly started to expand. Ice cream had become widely accessible in supermarkets and ice cream parlors across the country by the 1900s, and its annual production had increased gradually to its current level of over 1.6 billion gallons.
Foodborne Outbreaks and Recalls
Consuming contaminated ice cream products can lead to ice cream-related foodborne sickness, which is a widespread issue. There were 1,150 illnesses, 92 hospitalizations, and 5 fatalities as a result of at least 88 ice cream-related outbreaks that were reported to the CDC’s National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) between 2000 and 2020. In 1994, one of the early instances of ice cream-related food poisoning was linked to a few of the frozen desserts produced by Marshall, Minnesota’s Schwan’s Sales Enterprises. When raw, unpasteurized eggs were transported in a tanker truck that later transported pasteurized ice cream mix to the Schwan’s plant, it was reported that this occurrence resulted from Salmonella-related contamination. About 740 patients in 30 states were linked to this outbreak. In as many as 41 US states, the pandemic was thought to have affected over 3,000 additional people.
Salmonella Typhimurium caused a multi-state outbreak in 2005, and the cause was Cold Stone Cake Batter Ice Cream. 25 persons were affected throughout nine states by the outbreak, which resulted in four hospitalizations but no deaths were reported. A thorough investigation into the outbreak revealed that the Gold Metal Super Moist cake mix, which is one of its ingredients, was the point of contamination. Of the 25 cases, 24 included people who had eaten cake batter ice cream, which shared a base of cream with other ice cream varieties. In reaction to the epidemic, Cold Stone Creamery issued a recall for this flavor.
Due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination of ice cream produced at Blue Bell Creameries, a multi-state outbreak incident was recorded in 2015. Four states—Texas (1), Arizona (1), Kansas (5), and Oklahoma (1)—reported ten cases of listeriosis associated with this outbreak (3). Three fatalities were reported from Kansas, and all ill consumers were hospitalized. Different ice cream products produced on the same production line were found to be sources of Listeria contamination during the outbreak investigation. Blue Bell creameries recalled every product from the stores on April 20, 2015, and issued a warning to customers to stop buying or eating the company’s ice cream products and to throw away any that they have already bought. In response to the incident, Paul Krause, the former president of Blue Bell Creameries, was charged with conspiracy and wire fraud in relation to a plan to hide the company’s sale of the tainted products. In addition, the business was ordered to pay $17.25 million in criminal fines for marketing contaminated food items on two charges.
Causes of Contamination
Ice cream deterioration and foodborne illness can be brought on by bacteria, parasites, toxins, and viruses. Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 are common pathogens that cause ice cream outbreaks. At typical ice cream storage temperatures and conditions, these microorganisms are known to proliferate quickly, increasing the probability of a serious outbreak. Abdominal discomfort, backaches, chills, diarrhea (both bloody and not), lethargy, fever, headache, nausea, and malaise are all possible signs of such microbial infection. These symptoms often appear 2 to 5 days after eating ice cream and last for around 8 days, although depending on the pathogen and infectious dose, they may appear as soon as 12 hours or as late as 3 weeks after consumption. Foodborne illness can cause serious illness, and Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which causes abrupt kidney failure in very young consumers, is one such condition. Older people may develop thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a condition that is similar. It’s also possible for meningitis and spontaneous abortions in pregnant women. These severe effects can cause death if not handled.
Microorganisms can infect finished ice cream products at any time, including during manufacture, shipping, sales points, and consumer residences. Animal and bird digestive tracts, raw dairy products, untreated water, soil, and sewage sludge are all potential sources of pathogens. Contamination and/or sickness can develop via contact with any of the listed things or an ill person. Pathogens can thrive in unclean settings created by inadequately processed ice cream, contaminated ingredients, and manufacturing equipment.
Manufacturers must follow good food handling and processing procedures, stop all potential contamination routes, and maintain adequate freezing temperatures in order to prevent ice cream outbreaks. The level of sickness and mortality caused by ice cream contamination could also be greatly reduced by improving worker and manufacturer personal hygiene and decontamination techniques.
The following processes are used to make ice cream: mixing the components, pasteurization, homogenization, aging the mixture, freezing, packing, and hardening.
Blending and Pasteurization
In order to generate the “ice cream mix,” blending entails choosing the appropriate ingredients and their matching quantities for a particular taste of ice cream. The mixture is subsequently sterilized, either in a batch pasteurizer or a continuous pasteurizer. In the first approach, the materials are combined in sizable jacketed vats and heated to a temperature of 69 C (155 F) for roughly 30 minutes, or to any temperature high enough to kill pathogens and lower the bacterial count to a maximum of 100,000 per gram. Batch pasteurization has the advantage of denatureing large amounts of whey protein, which is thought to give ice cream a superior body. After components are combined in an insulated feed tank, pasteurization is carried out continuously in a high temperature short time heat (HTST) exchanger. Steel plates are stacked and framed in the equipment in such a way that different flow patterns can be utilised. The heating medium for this technique might alternatively be steam or hot water. This approach has the advantage of being both quicker and more energy-efficient than batch processing. No matter the technique, pasteurization is carried out for two crucial reasons: to eradicate pathogenic bacteria and to lessen the quantity of spoiling organisms (i.e. psychrotrophs).
Homogenization and Aging
Ice cream mix homogenization normally involves two stages and occurs at pasteurizing temperature. By effectively reducing (milk, cream, etc.) globules at a high temperature, fat emulsion can be formed, creating a mixture that is thinner and easier to whip. In order to provide appropriate results, a two-stage homogenizer typically needs pressure levels of 20002500 psi and 5001000 psi on the first and second stages, respectively. However, it’s crucial to remember that a mix with more solids and fat will call for a lower pressure. In addition to other advantages, the procedure enables the use of necessary ingredients like butter and frozen cream. Additionally, ice cream gets richer, creamier, more delicious, and less likely to melt. The mixture must then be aged, typically overnight in a silo, insulated storage tank, or other suitable location. The mixture is kept at a temperature of 5C or below, which is as low as it can get without freezing. During this period, fat cools, crystallizes, and hydrates proteins and polysaccharides completely, resulting in a little viscosity rise. By adding this stage, the mixture’s whipping capabilities, as well as its texture and body, are further enhanced. The mixture is added to the flavor tank after processing, where colors, purees, or other liquid tastes are added.
To give ice cream its distinctive lightness, air is whipped into the frozen mixture as part of the freezing process, which also involves freezing a portion of the water. In around 30 seconds or 10-15 minutes, depending on whether a batch freezer is used, mix is blasted through a “barrel freezer and pulled. Ingredients like fruit, nuts, chocolates, and cookies are mixed into the semi-frozen ice cream during this phase. A heat exchanger with a scraped surface coated with a boiling refrigerant, like ammonia or Freon, is referred to as a barrel freezer. Dashers inside the barrel help whip the mixture, and rotating blades in the barrel keep ice off the freezer’s surface. The air that is added to the mixture gives ice cream its lightness. The packaged ice cream is put into a blast freezer at a temperature of -30 to -40C, where the majority of the water is frozen. Ice cream is stable at temperatures below -25 C for an unlimited amount of time; but, at higher degrees, it is possible for ice crystals to form, which will shorten the product’s shelf life.
In order to harden packed goods, blast freezers must be used to statically freeze them quickly. Low temperatures are used in this technique, with the choice of enhanced conduction or enhanced convection (freezing tunnels with driven air fans) (plate freezers). The temperature of the blast freezer, which determines how quickly the product hardens and how smoothly it turns out, as well as the temperature of the ice cream when hardening first started all have an impact on how quickly the product hardens. The size of a container should maximize its surface area exposed to cold air, and it should be stacked without obstructing airflow (i.e. no dead air spaces).
Studies have indicated that under-processed and/or unpasteurized dairy products are often the source of ice cream foodborne disease. A crucial stage in the production of commercial ice cream is pasteurization, which involves heating the ice cream mixture to kill any microorganisms that may be present. For maximum safety, it is advised to use pasteurized milk and/or cream while making homemade ice cream. Since raw or undercooked components have also been linked to outbreaks of foodborne illness, they shouldn’t be utilized in the manufacturing of ice cream, whether it’s for sale or made at home.
Another issue with food safety in ice cream production is allergen contamination. The immune system responds against foods it perceives as toxic in response to food allergies. Life-threatening allergic responses are possible. People who are allergic to milk, products containing milk, or those who are lactose intolerant should pay particular attention to the milk allergen content of ice cream as it is one of the main eight allergens and is present in the majority of ice cream products. Furthermore, it’s not unusual for ice cream to include extra fruits, nuts, flavorings that take up a lot of space, or components that contain tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, or corn products. These additional substances may cause allergies in certain users. Commercial ice cream producers are required by law to list any allergies in their product. Consumers are highly encouraged to read the ice cream’s label and confirm that there are no risks of allergic reactions before purchasing.
Consumers can safely and effectively store ice cream in the manner described below to maintain its quality:
- The ice cream section at the supermarket served as the final stop on the shopping journey.
- Verify the freezer case’s temperature at the store. The freezer case in the grocery store shouldn’t be warmer than -20F. Ice cream will be fully frozen and firm to the touch if the freezer is kept at the right temperature. Product softness should be brought to the store manager’s notice.
- For the trip home, insulate ice cream goods with other groceries.
- To avoid ice cream sitting in a heated car while making other stops, make the grocery store or ice cream shop the last visit before returning home.
- Ice cream should be kept at a temperature between -5F and 0F in the far back of the freezer at home. This temperature should be maintained by adjusting the freezer’s settings.
- Ice cream shouldn’t be continually softened and refrozen, nor should it be kept out of the freezer unduly. Small ice crystals in ice cream gradually grow into huge, disagreeable lumps when they melt and refreeze.
- Keep the ice cream container lid tightly closed when placing it back in the freezer to lessen the production of ice crystals.
- Ice cream shouldn’t be stored next to unprotected meals since scents could seep in and change the flavor.
- 6F to 10F is the optimal serving temperature range.
Ice cream despises temperature changes, so consumers should be aware of this whether they purchase ready-to-eat ice cream from grocery stores, go to an ice cream shop, or make their own from scratch. Desserts that are frozen and exposed to temperatures above 10F may experience negative alterations to their flavor, texture, and body. Some of the ice crystals contained inside ice cream start to melt once the temperature of the substance rises. This is not an issue if the ice cream is consumed immediately, but when partially melted ice cream is re-frozen, bigger, crunchier ice crystals form, depriving the ice cream of its creaminess.
Large cartons of ice cream as well as individually wrapped frozen confections including ice cream sandwiches, cones, chocolate-dipped bars, Klondike bars, and popsicles are available for purchase. The average American consumes 26 liters, or about 22 pounds, of ice cream annually (45.8 pints). Despite this substantial consumption, New Zealand leads the world in ice cream consumption per person with 28.4 liters. At any one moment, 86 percent of Americans have ice cream in their refrigerators, with Sunday being the most popular day for purchases. The three most popular ice cream flavors in America are vanilla, cookies and cream, and chocolate chip mint. Most people choose chocolate syrup as a topping. In the United States, 9% of all milk produced is utilized to manufacture ice cream because of the great demand for the frozen treat. In addition to ordinary ice cream, there are many other options, as illustrated below. Although standard ice cream is the most popular type, between 2000 and 2018, its consumption fell by 9%, while that of low-fat ice cream rose by 20%.
Types of Ice Cream
A frozen meal created from a variety of dairy products that contains at least 10% milk fat is known as regular ice cream.
Ice cream that is described as light or lite has 33 percent fewer calories or at least 50% less total fat than the product being compared.
A serve of low-fat ice cream with a maximum of 3 grams of total fat.
Additionally, frozen Custardor French ice cream must have egg yolk solids of at least 1.4 percent and a minimum of 10% milk fat.
Sherbets weigh at least 6 pounds per gallon and have a milk fat level of 1 to 2 percent.
Sherbets are similar to sorbets and water ice, however they don’t have dairy in them.
A combination of cultured dairy products, such as milk and nonfat milk, as well as sweetening and flavoring agents make up frozen yogurt.
Ice creams are frozen dairy products that are typically eaten as sweets or as snacks. According to federal laws or standards of identity, ice cream must have a minimum milk fat content of 10% and a total milk solids content of 20% by weight.
a single scoop of ice cream Approximately 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 14 grams of added sugar, and 2 grams of protein are present in 1/2 cup of normal ice cream. Due to the small serving size’s high calorie and fat content, ice cream is regarded as a high-calorie food. Ice cream also contains a lot of saturated fat, which has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. However, the relationship between dairy fat and the risk of heart disease is still up for debate. With 10% of the recommended daily intake of calcium and phosphorus in each dish, ice cream is regarded as a healthy food. Although ice cream can be included in a healthy diet, its high palatability makes it more likely that people would overeat it and consume more calories each day.
- Science in the Public Interest Center. The Ten Riskiest Foods Under FDA Regulation (Internet) Science in the Public Interest Center. [cited 14 July 2020]. Online at: https://col.st/syJue
- Department of Health and Human Services. Blue Bell Creameries products have been linked to a multistate listeriosis outbreak [Internet]. 2018 [quoted on July 14, 2020]. Accessible from: col.st/AiYOA
- Bradley RL, Rankin SA, and Hartel RW. Milestones in the creation of frozen desserts: A 100-Year Review. Journal of Dairy Science, 100(12), 1001425 (Dec. 1, 2017).
- The Ice Cream’s History [Internet]. Today I learned. 2013 [cited on July 13, 2020]. Accessible from: col.st/qAYaG