A grandmother from Australia is concerned after her grandson's ice cream sandwich, which he threw on the ground in a tantrum, failed to melt after four days in the summer heat.
There are two problems with this. One: that the grandson squandered a dessert because it was split down the middle. We all have flaws. That doesn't mean we slam each other down onto the sidewalk. More importantly: that his ice cream sandwich, besides failing his aesthetic standards, wouldn't melt and therefore could not have been fully cream-based, which, you know, you'd prefer your ice cream to be.
On Facebook, Mary Salter reached out to Coles grocery store, where she purchased the sandwich, looking for answers.
She left the sandwich in her yard, she explained, thinking cats, dogs, birds or ants might be interested in the sweet treat.
"I have watched with interest that none of the above would go near it," she wrote on the Coles Facebook page. "... now I am a little concerned just WHAT is in this 'treat' - can you please explain why after 4 days in 26 degree heat [78 degrees Fahrenheit] on cement it has not melted or nothing has volunteered to eat it ..."
Salter shared the private response she received from Coles.
"Hi Mary, thanks for taking the time to get in touch with us," it reads. "We'll need to follow this up with our National Quality Team for some more information and we'll get back to you as soon as possible."
As Coles formulates a corporate response, we can use a Cincinnati news station's experiment to get down to the bottom of the unmelting ice cream.
Their story was similar. A child left a half-eaten ice cream sandwich from Walmart on the front porch on a hot day, and the mother found it intact 12 hours later. Intrigued, the local news station then left a Great Value ice cream sandwich, a Klondike bar and a pint of Haagen-Dazs ice cream in the sun. The Haagen-Dazs was quickly reduced to a puddle, the Klondike bar liquified significantly and the Walmart sandwich barely melted.
The Walmart sandwich -- and likely Mary Salter's grandson's sandwich -- contains corn syrup, guar gum and cellulose gum, according to WCPO. Haagen-Dazs, on the other hand, has just cream, milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla, with no corn syrup or gums.
"Ice cream melts based on how much butterfat and cream are in it," Walmart responded to WCPO. "Our sandwiches contain less, and are more affordable. But they are healthy and meet all FDA guidelines."
Coles appears to use similar techniques to keep its ice cream from melting, based on its statement to Munchies.
"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," the statement reads. "This technique includes 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 as foam."
These thickeners are natural and safe by FDA standards, but they're not found in the most simply made ice creams. If you love ice cream sandwiches but are perturbed by some brands' use of thickening additives, make your own summery treats with homemade ice cream and cookies. Ants surely won't flee from those.