Legal Definition of "Ice Cream"

17 September 2006

In the United States, the five most popular flavors by marketshare are vanilla (26%), chocolate (12.9%), neapolitan (4.8%), strawberry (4.3%) and cookies n' cream (4.0%).

In accordance with the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, the Food and Drug Administration enforces a set of standards which regulate the labeling of food products.

Ice cream is defined as a frozen food made from a mixture of dairy products, containing at least 10% milkfat.

Different types of ice cream include:

Reduced fat ice cream contains at least 25% less total fat than the referenced product (either an average of leading brands, or the company's own brand.)

Light ice cream contains at least 50% less total fat or 33% fewer calories than the referenced product (the average of leading regional or national brands.)

Lowfat ice cream contains a maximum of 3 grams of total fat per serving (1/2 cup).

Nonfat ice cream contains less than 0.5 grams of total fat per serving.


Soda jerker flipping ice cream into malted milk shakes by Lee Russell, Corpus Christi, Texas, 1939.

Sources: International Dairy Foods Association, FDA, NPD Group National Eating Trends Services)

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