Tell Ben & Jerry’s: Stop Defrauding Consumers—It’s Time to Go Organic!
If there were an award for “greenwashing,” it would likely go to Ben & Jerry’s, the iconic Vermont-based ice cream brand, now owned by Unilever.
Ben & Jerry’s has done a brilliant job of selling consumers on the idea that the company cares about social justice, the environment, the climate, and its customers—the company even brags about its "Caring Dairy" program and its commitment to using non-GMO ingredients.
But behind that greenwashed façade lies the tale of a company that relies on a #dirtydairy industry that has poisoned Vermont’s waterways, that abuses animals, that is bankrupting farmers and is contributing to global warming by stripping the soil of its ability to draw down and sequester carbon.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Ben & Jerry’s: Stop Defrauding Consumers—It’s Time to Go Organic! Fill in the form on this page or text 'dirtydairy' to 97779 to sign.
After you sign the petition, please call Ben & Jerry’s (802-846-1500) and ask the company to go organic. Then post on Ben & Jerry’s Facebook page and tweet this: @benandjerrys Stop supporting #dirtydairy. Go #organic! http://orgcns.org/2iTt1fn
Ben & Jerry’s no longer claims its ice cream is “all natural.” That’s because the company was sued for deceiving consumers by claiming products containing alkalized cocoa, corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soybean oil were “natural.”
Still, thanks to its “peace, love and ice cream” tagline, and the company’s website, which touts its commitment to social justice and climate, Ben & Jerry’s has created the perception that its brand is a more “natural” choice than others.
But perhaps Ben & Jerry’s biggest scam is this: The company proudly claims its ice cream ingredients are “GMO-free”— even though the milk used in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream comes from cows fed GMO feed. Because Ben & Jerry’s has so far refused to transition to organic milk, the company is one of the biggest contributors to the myth of the “bucolic” Vermont dairy industry.
The truth about Vermont’s #dirtydairy
That happy cow that adorns almost every carton of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? It lives its entire life confined on a concrete floor, gorged with 130 pounds of drug-laced GMO feed every day, according to this article by Will Allen and Michael Colby, of Regeneration Vermont (a founding partner of OCA's Regeneration International project).
According to the USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS), dairy cows are dying prematurely from painful and preventable causes like udder infections (mastitis), respiratory problems, hoof infections, leg injuries and diarrhea, all directly attributable to the conditions geared toward maximizing milk production at the expense of the cow’s health.
All that GMO corn and soy in Vermont isn’t just making cows sick. It's also poisoning Vermont’s waterways and is in all likelihood ending up, in some form or another, in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Allen and Colby, who analyzed reams of data on pesticide use in Vermont, reported in August 2016, that from 1999 to 2012, Vermont’s dairy farmers applied more than 2,533,329 pounds of metolachlor, atrazine and simazine to their cornfields. (All three of these chemicals are probable human carcinogens, birth defect progenitors, endocrine disruptors and persistent water polluters).
That’s a lot of poison. And the dairy farmers who spray all that poison? Life isn’t all sunny skies and green pastures for them, either, write Allen and Colby:
There’s plenty of money in food. It’s just not getting to the farmers. Vermont’s dairy industry, for example, is dominated by two well-known corporate giants: Ben & Jerry’s and Cabot Creamery. Last year, Ben & Jerry’s grossed around $600 million and Cabot and its parent, Agri-Mark, grossed nearly a billion dollars. Both have bragged in financial reports about how well they’re doing, with increased executive pay and all kinds of bells and whistles for the office set. Ben & Jerry’s makes so much money that they have a foundation to give some of it away.
Lost in the largesse are the farmers producing the dairy for the ice cream and cheese. An average-sized Vermont dairy farm is losing more than $100,000 a year to produce the cheap commodity milk that in turn is making Ben & Jerry’s and Cabot a lot of money—$1.6 billion between them.
Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim recently told Forbes magazine that his “vision” is that “Ben & Jerry’s must continue to aspire to be a social justice company that just happens to make ice cream.”
In a separate interview with Forbes, Solheim said his parents instilled in him an “anything is possible' attitude.” If that’s the case, it’s time for Solheim to do what’s not only possible, but right—for Vermont, for consumer and animal health, for the environment and for the climate. And that is to lead the way by abandoning the degenerative, quantity-over-quality #dirtydairy model and immediately announce that Ben & Jerry’s will transition to 100-percent organic milk for all of its products.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Ben & Jerry’s: Stop Defrauding Consumers—It’s Time to Go Organic!
After you sign the petition, please call Ben & Jerry’s (802-846-1500) and ask the company to go organic. Then post on Ben & Jerry’s Facebook page and tweet this: @benandjerrys Stop supporting #dirtydairy. Go #organic!