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article imageTraces of weedkiller found in Ben & Jerry's ice cream

By Karen Graham     Jul 26, 2017 in Food
Ben & Jerry's, a national brand known for its quality and eco-friendly practices, has come under fire after traces of the pesticide glyphosate was found in 10 out of 11 ice cream samples tested.
Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Monsanto's popular pesticide, Roundup, and widely used in agriculture in the United States and other countries around the world. And even though quite a number of food products have been found to contain traces of glyphosate, the fact that Vermont-based Ben & Jerry's ice cream products are also contaminated with the pesticide has created a huge backlash across the nation.
The ice cream maker's troubles started on Tuesday after the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) released a list of food brands found to contain traces of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup. And while the New York Times notes that the levels of the pesticide found were below the EPA's acceptable limits, the OCA was not going to let the test results go nor were they letting Ben & Jerry's off the hook.
Ben & Jerry's reputation is at stake
Rob Michalak, global director of social mission at Ben & Jerry’s said that the company is working to ensure that all the ingredients in its supply chain are free of genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs. Michalak insists that none of its plant-based ingredients come from GMO crops like corn or soy.
Michalak didn't mention the fruits used in the production of the ice cream, many of them sprayed with chemicals that are possibly toxic to humans. But Michalak says the company is trying to figure out a cost-effective way for the dairy farms supplying their milk to use non-GMO feeds.
“We’re working to transition away from G.M.O., as far away as we can get,” Mr. Michalak said. “But then these tests come along, and we need to better understand where the glyphosate they’re finding is coming from. Maybe it’s something that’s not even in our supply chain, and so we’re missing it.”
The company's reputation goes back at least two or more decades, when anti-GMO food activists, including the Pure Food Campaign (OCA’s predecessor), succeeded in getting the company to stop using milk from cows that were injected with Monsanto’s recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH).
rBGH has since been linked to an increased risk of human breast and colon cancer, a greater use of antibiotics in animal feed, and damage to a cow’s health. But, and this is the big thorn in people's sides — Since Unilever's 1994 take over of its $1.5-billion-per-year flagship brand, Ben and Jerry's, Unilever has been cashing in on its “rBGH-free” policy,
But at the same time, Unilever ads proclaim, over and over again, that its brands are “all natural,” “GMO-free,” “fair trade,” “climate-just” and “socially responsible.”
A dairy cow produces 53 pounds of milk every day  and 120 pounds of manure.
A dairy cow produces 53 pounds of milk every day, and 120 pounds of manure.
Where is corporate transparency?
OCS is taking the ice cream company to task, saying on their website: "Despite repeated calls from consumer groups to stop advertising its ice cream as “natural” or “all natural,” given that it is derived from cows raised almost exclusively on GMO corn forage (grown with Roundup Ready, neonic-, and BT-spliced seeds), laced with nonorganic ingredients, sprayed heavily with Roundup and other pesticides, Ben & Jerry’s continues to greenwash and lie."
Perhaps if we were living in another time, fraudulent claims about a product being "all natural" or "organically grown" wouldn't matter as much — However, we live in a world where science and technology have created genetically altered seeds for food crops laced with receptors that are favorable to new chemical weed and pest killers and our environment and climate is in a shambles.
How bad could this boycott and petition action become for Ben & Jerry's? As a Unilever product sold internationally, if the boycott takes off, then consumers may force the company to make some much-needed changes in their advertising.
More about ben & jerry's, Glyphosate, Ice cream, GMO feeds, Boycott
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