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Is Ice Food?

Write-Off: The Tax Blog

I recently purchased a bag of ice, and, noticed on it a little emblem, “Ice is Food.” I wondered why the ice folks would want to assure me that ice is food. I thought about whether I thought of ice as food. Sometimes I use it to cool coolers, and, it does not get consumed internally. The bag I was buying was meant to cool drinking water, so, I was going to ingest it. So, sure, sometimes it is food. But, why are the ice people so anxious to convince me ice is food?

As I checked out the bag of ice, I noticed the sales tax I paid on the ice. I did not pay the normal Chatham County sales tax rate on ordinary items, rather, I paid the food rate. So, more confirmation it is food.

Maybe the “ice is food” stamp was just trying to confirm the sales tax folks’ decision to give ice the lower rate. Of course, that is the answer I liked. But, as I have wandered around the internet reading up on the “ice is food” propaganda, it turns out, sadly, it’s not about taxes (gasp!). Rather, it appears to me to be a way to convey that the ice maker wants the FDA to regulate ice sales, likely to try to impose large costs to small ice makers and make sure Big Ice can control the market and control the perception of the quality of their ice. Just my perception of their campaign.

My guess was not random. There have been questions around whether other things are foods, and, the fight was sales-tax based (like marshmallows!). Usually, in these kinds of cases, my guess is that taxes are the reason for such things is correct, but, on this one, I guess not.

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