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The ice cream man and the woes after

By Vision Reporter

Added 11th April 2010 03:00 AM

BEFORE the introduction of the modern refrigerator, ice cream was a luxury reserved for special occasions, but now you can find it in almost every supermarket. You can also get it by the roadside. The sound of the sharp melodies usually signal the presence of the ice cream man.

BEFORE the introduction of the modern refrigerator, ice cream was a luxury reserved for special occasions, but now you can find it in almost every supermarket. You can also get it by the roadside. The sound of the sharp melodies usually signal the presence of the ice cream man.

By Hope Abimanya

BEFORE the introduction of the modern refrigerator, ice cream was a luxury reserved for special occasions, but now you can find it in almost every supermarket. You can also get it by the roadside. The sound of the sharp melodies usually signal the presence of the ice cream man.

Much as ice cream is enjoyable, has anyone ever wondered how long it has been kept in that freezer or how long that motorcyclist has carried it?

Do we even care to look at who supplies it or is it just a matter of satisfying our appetite?

Daphne Kakulu says whenever she buys ice cream from the supermarket, she makes sure she picks it herself from the freezer.

“But one time when in a taxi, I bought one from a vendor. It had melted and tasted bad,” she says.

Asaph Baguma, an ice cream vendor, says: “I buy 20 to 30 ice cream tins every morning from the manufacturers and sell it between sh500 and sh1,000. I have a cooler on my bike and if it remains, I keep it there till the next day.”

At the ice cream factory or supermarkets, ice cream costs anything from sh600 to sh30,000, depending on the size and flavour. So the person buying from the vendors saves just sh100 for the small tins.

Diana Kenyangi, a nutritionist at Bank of Uganda clinic, says there is a difference between ice cream kept in the freezer and the one in the cooler.

“The the one in the freezer can stay for six months without going bad, but the one in the cooler can only last for six to eight hours. Most vendors have coolers and perhaps by the time they sell the ice cream, it would have gone bad,” she says.

Jasani A, the managing director of Simka Ice Cream, says ice cream can last for about six months if kept in the freezer under temperatures ranging from one to 15 degrees centigrade.

“We use ingredients like milk, sugar and flavour to make ice cream, which comes in different flavours like strawberry, vanilla, mango, pineapple, orange and chocolate.

“We supply it to supermarkets twice a week. To ensure it is safe, we give vendors freezers free of charge,” Jasani says.

Mark Akampa, a nutritionist at Mbarara University Teaching Hospital, says one should be careful with edibles that are sold on the streets.

“The hygiene of the vendors is questionable. Some of them use old tins. This puts people’s health at risk,” he says, adding, it is important for people to mind what they eat.

The ice cream from the supermarket might be okay because it is supplied by manufacturers, but no one knows whether that sold on the streets is from genuine manufacturers.

“Ugandans are funny. One can even collect used empty ice tins and re-use them. Once the consumer sees the label on the tin, they rush to buy the ice cream yet it could be a fake,” Akampa says.

“It is possible for people to catch typhoid, brucellosis and cholera if they eat ice cream prepared from unhygienic places,” Kenyangi says.

She says ice cream, if consumed a lot, can result into obesity, heart disease and digestive problems.

“The constant ingestion of herbicides, pesticides and anything else the cow eats is not good for human beings. These wind up getting stored in human fat, which is not healthy,”she says.

Other problems associated with ice cream consumption include allergies and high fat and sugar intake.

“Protein-based foods like milk can cause allergies leading to running stomachs and vomiting. If one gets an allergy after eating ice cream, the only solution is to stop taking it,” Kenyangi advises.

In hospitals around town, treating diseases like brucellosis and typhoid may cost between sh30,000 and sh50,000.

Hanifa Baucu, a nutritionist at Mulago Hospital, warns that people should be careful where they buy ice cream from.
“Leave alone the ice cream being okay, the person selling it might not be healthy. The vendors’ health status is important because he can easily infect the consumers,” he says.

Health inspectors should ensure that ice cream vendors are extremely clean because the public’s health is very important.

Allowing only licensed vendors to operate may save the public problems associated with bad ice cream.

The ice cream man and the woes after

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