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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 May 2006, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Polish ice cream ban for papal visit
Child licking ice cream
The authorities insist the ice creams pose a health hazard
Rome is the home of ice cream and for generations, citizens and tourists alike have forsaken dessert in a restaurant for the simple pleasure of sitting outside with a takeaway cone.

The last Pope, John Paul II, used to have tubs of his favourite flavour, marron glace, delivered to his summer residence.

But if his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, wants to see how Polish ice cream compares during a trip there this week, he is likely to be disappointed.

The southern town of Wadowice, where Pope John Paul II was born, has banned the sale of takeaway ice creams and cream cakes for the duration of the visit.

'Health risk'

"Cakes and ice cream can easily go off in summer temperatures and can pose a danger to health," Bozena Okreglicka, a spokeswoman for local health inspectors told AFP. "That's why we're banning takeaway sales on the day many pilgrims will be arriving in Wadowice."

There is always the risk that the faithful may feel hurt if programming devoted to the Pope's visit is interrupted by frivolous ads
Zbigniew Badziak, Telewizja Polska

And that isn't all that has made it onto the list of prohibited items.

Areas that the Pope will visit, including the cities of Warsaw and Krakow, will be dry, with a ban on all alcohol sales while the Pope is in town.

Polish police say the ban is in place to maintain public order and as a mark of respect for the pontiff.

Pope Benedict XVI himself will be offered both red and white wine as he attends a series of gala dinners, according to local media reports.

TV censored

In fact, television advertisements for alcohol have also been banned, along with those for contraceptives, lingerie and tampons.

Even a television advert for a new television has been barred. The ad featuring a couple appearing to have sex promoting the "multiple pleasures" of LG Phillips television sets is currently only aired late at night and will not be shown at all during the Pope's visit.

"There is always the risk that the faithful may feel hurt if programming devoted to the Pope's visit is interrupted by frivolous ads," Zbigniew Badziak, head of advertising for Telewizja Polska, the state-run TV network, told the Associated Press news agency.

Similar advert bans were put in place when John Paul II visited his homeland, and many companies have already provided toned down versions in preparation of this latest papal tour.

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