Sparky's cicada ice cream run ends before it began

Monday, June 6, 2011 | 2:39 p.m. CDT; updated 9:41 a.m. CDT, Monday, June 20, 2011
This one and only half-batch of cicada ice cream sold out within an hour after Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream made it available to customers Wednesday night. Sparky's was advised by the City of Columbia Health Department to discontinue making future batches of the ice cream.

COLUMBIA — Those looking to taste the seasonal flavor of cicada ice cream at Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream will no longer have an opportunity to do so.

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."

Sparky's introduced the cicada ice cream last week and met with such surprising demand that it sold out the day before it was set to debut. The store was going to make another batch for the weekend, but a sign on the door told customers it would not be back until 2024.

When making the first half batch of ice cream, the cicadas were boiled and fully cooked through, Sparky's manager Ashley Nagel said. Food code does not address how cicadas should be cooked.

"The food code tells us how high the temperature should be," Worley said of normally cooked foods such as fish, chicken and beef. The department does not have that information for cicadas.

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Nathan Stephens June 6, 2011 | 4:28 p.m.

Not that I would eat the ice cream but e-How seems to have suggestions that the health dept could follow? Also, if the health dept. does not have suggestions on how the cicadas should be cooked, they cannot have 'code violations' for selling the ice cream right? Anyway, here is what e-How had to say:

(Report Comment)
Jeff Moran June 6, 2011 | 5:35 p.m.

For an excellent song about periodical cicadas by local song writing legend, Dr Chordate, please visit this MySpace Music page:

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 6, 2011 | 6:58 p.m.

Send your excellent song to IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
D Leek June 7, 2011 | 3:27 p.m.

I'm confused. The article doesn't say the Health Department made them stop.

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer June 7, 2011 | 3:44 p.m.

There's lots of confusion around this, D Leek. Sparky's called the health department on their own and were advised to not make any more. They were not, however TOLD not to make more. No food code regulations address the use of cicadas.
— Joy Mayer, Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Mike Bellman June 7, 2011 | 11:30 p.m.

That wasn't the original story. They said coming Thursday, 6-2-11 "We've got ice cream", then said that they had "sold out" Thursday morning. Sparky's then received another news piece where they described the frenzied customers on Wednesday night (a fabrication apparently).

Sparky's went on to say they were preparing another 'batch' for Saturday or Sunday. Which if true means they either (1) hadn't yet contact the health dept. or (2) Indeed contacted the health dept. and were stringing people along for the "gross-out/interest factor.

The story citing the Health Department's meetup didn't surface until Monday, 6-6-11. While I don't doubt the Health Department's claim, this whole series of events stinks of cover-up. I really don't understand it. Is Sparky's some fixture of the community besides an ice cream store which commands deference to a series of conflicting stories?

This last "Health Department" story has grown a lot more than 6 legs and is now being reported across the state and all over the "Web".

(Report Comment)

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