For decades, Dairy Queen has been the preeminent place to go when you want a Blizzard of ice cream and candy mixed to confection perfection. But if you want to get technical about it, ordering up a cup or cone of their soft serve “ice cream” isn’t necessarily correct. They simply refer to their menu items as “soft serve” or “treats,” because it's not technically ice cream. Here’s why.
According to the Dairy Queen website, DQ deliciousness has a semantics issue with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Technically, our soft serve does not qualify to be called ice cream,” the company statement reads. “To be categorized as ice cream, the minimum butterfat content must be 10 percent, and our soft serve has only five percent butterfat content.”
This butterfat anomaly led to the company’s wares being filed under the “ice milk” category by the FDA, though the agency has since changed its definition of frozen treats having less than 5 percent butterfat and allows them to be labeled as ice cream when accompanied by the phrases “reduced-fat,” “light,” or “low-fat.” (Reduced fat ice cream must have 25 percent less total fat than the comparable regular ice cream product; light ice cream has to have 50 percent less total fat; low-fat ice cream can have just 3 grams of total fat per serving.)
Dairy Queen’s soft serve would fall under the “reduced-fat” ice cream label, and their shakes are technically “low-fat” ice cream. But DQ has stuck with the “soft serve” label. One possible reason: When you’re at a Dairy Queen, it’s not much fun ordering “low-fat” anything.