Cicada ice cream bugs health officials in Missouri: Why?

Columbia Missourian/Qi An

Columbia Missourian/Qi An
(CBS/AP) Cicada-flavored ice cream proved to be a big hit with customers of an ice cream shop in Columbia, Mo. But health officials were so bugged by the stuff that they told the creative thinkers at Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream to cool it.

Sparky's contacted the health department after it sold out of its only batch of the insect-filled snack within hours of its June 1 debut. Employees had collected the bugs in their backyards, then boiled them and coated them in brown sugar and milk chocolate before adding them to the ice cream. What did they do with the wings? Some were removed, but some were left in to give the ice cream a satisfying crunch.

Yum.

Before the shop could prepare another batch, the City of Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services put the entire effort on ice. Seems the agency's cooking temperature guidelines covered beef, chicken, fish, and pork - but not cicadas.

"The food code doesn't directly address cicadas," environmental health manager Gerry Worley said. "We advised against it."

Was that really necessary?

Cicadas are edible, according to the University of Illinois Extension website. In fact, more than 1,400 species of insect have been confirmed as safe to eat, according to Slate.com. But experts on insect-eating (entomophagy) bugs flitting about one's backyard might contain pesticide residues - though it's unclear whether levels would be high enough to harm people who ate them.

What does cicada ice cream taste like? One person who tried compared the insect's flavor to a peanut.

  • David W Freeman

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