Local Government Inhibits Ice Cream Innovation
During the past few weeks, this sound has become familiar to many Missourians, particularly those who live on or south of Interstate 70. That’s because the Great Southern Brood of cicadas has emerged to reproduce and fulfill its 13-year life cycle. The creative minds at Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream, a local institution in Columbia, thought they could use this as an opportunity to experiment with a new ingredient:
Yum. Despite many people’s instant aversion to the insects, people have eaten cicadas for decades — but typically grilled, and never before in ice cream, to my knowledge. Nonetheless, the concoction proved a hit — so much so that Sparky’s sold out of it before it even officially debuted. Unfortunately, the health department warned Sparky’s against making more, likely ensuring that this will be the only batch of cicada ice cream ever sold there:
Sparky’s approached the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services and asked about the use of cicadas in the ice cream, Gerry Worley, environmental health manager for the department, said.
“The food code doesn’t directly address cicadas,” Worley said. “We advised against it.”
Despite the fact that people are free to eat cicadas on their own and frequently do so, the city has recommended that food service professionals avoid using this highly demanded ingredient. Everyone loses in this situation. Sparky’s loses business and publicity. Consumers lose an exotic experience. The only winner is a climate of senseless regulation.