You say Popsicle, I say quiescently frozen confection

Dear Cecil:

The last time I ate a popsicle I noticed that the wrapper said "...Twin Pop, a quiescently frozen confection ..." Can you find out what this vaguely alarming phrase means? Please respond quickly! My freezer is filled with QFCs, and I'm afraid to eat another one until I find out.

Cecil replies:

The phrase “quiescently frozen confection” is simply the legal definition of a Popsicle, used in the various state and legal codes that regulate the production and distribution of food. Legislators are too embarrassed to drop words like “Popsicle” into the middle of their carefully honed legalese, so a little linguistic obfuscation is necessary. Besides, “Popsicle” is the registered trademark of Popsicle Industries of Englewood, New Jersey–which is to say that there are many popsicles, but only one Popsicle, as licensed for manufacture by the parent company.

“Quiescent” means “at rest,” and that’s pretty much how Popsicles are frozen–a blend of colored water and flavor is poured into a mold and run through a refrigerator. That’s as opposed to the “overrun” method of freezing, which is used in making ice cream and similar products. Ice cream is constantly stirred and agitated as it is frozen, incorporating a fair amount of air into the end product, which increases its volume but not its weight. Fudgesicles fall into still another category. Since they contain a small amount of milk (as well as water), they become “quiescently frozen dairy confections,” and are subjected to yet another set of rules and regulations.

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