Splashed across the Ben & Jerry’s website are cartoon-like pictures of happy cows romping in green pastures.
There’s a reason those cows are depicted by drawings, not actual photos—most of the real, live cows whose milk and cream are used in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products are crammed into dark, filthy barns for most of their short lives.
Ben & Jerry’s goes to great lengths to create the perception that the Unilever-owned company “cares” deeply about the farmers who supply milk and cream for the brand, the cows raised on Vermont dairy farms, and the state of Vermont’s environment.
The company’s “Caring Dairy” program sounds like a dream-come-true for Vermont’s dairy farmers and dairy cows.
But it’s more like a nightmare, for the cows, Vermont’s environment and consumers who care about animal welfare.
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) today filed suit against Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc., for deceptive labeling, marketing and sale of Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream products. The suit was filed in D.C. Superior Court under the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act.
“Unilever reportedly spent more than $9 billion on advertising in 2017 alone,” said OCA International Director, Ronnie Cummins. “A significant portion of that was spent to create the false perception that Ben & Jerry’s is committed to a clean environment and high animal welfare standards. Unilever knows those values foster brand loyalty and also allow the company to charge a premium.”
“Ben & Jerry’s decades-old practice of sourcing dairy ingredients from conventional dairy operations has led to a water pollution crisis in Vermont. There is nothing socially or environmentally responsible about that.”
Early this week, a California court appointed the judge who will oversee the trial of DeWayne Johnson v. Monsanto Company.
DeWayne “Lee” Johnson was a school groundskeeper, a job that required him to use Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller on school properties.
The 46-year-old father of two is now terminally ill, with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). And he’s suing Monsanto.
Johnson is just one of thousands of NHL sufferers suing Monsanto for not only causing their cancer, but for knowingly exposing them to risk by concealing Monsanto's own internal evidence linking Roundup to NHL and other health problems.
Johnson is the first to go to trial, because California expedites trials for the terminally ill.
Wayne Johnson could have chosen to live out the rest of his life in peace. Instead, he chose to use the time he has left to face down one of the most powerful companies in the world.
Johnson is committed to holding Monsanto accountable.
We owe it to him to be just as unwavering in our determination to hold Monsanto accountable.
A number of our supporters wrote recently to complain about the cozy deal between MoveOn.org and Ben & Jerry’s. It’s a deal that lets the ice cream maker polish its image (and boost sales) by aligning its brand with progressive causes—even though the Unilever-owned company is responsible for the use of massive amounts of toxic chemicals that have all but ruined Vermont’s water.
These supporters (and others) were referring to emails to MoveOn members from "Ben & Jerry" with subject lines like “We're worried” and “Stop Trump. Eat Ice Cream.”
But let’s be clear. This is free advertising for Ben & Jerry’s, a brand that masquerades as “socially responsible” when it isn’t. And it’s a great example of subliminal advertising, designed to convey this message: “Hey, we’re just like you. We care.”
The marketing gurus at Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s know full well that many consumers are willing to spend more for products sold by “socially responsible” companies. According to a recent report, Unilever's “Sustainable Living” brands are growing 46 percent faster than rest of business.
Thanks to internal emails uncovered by Carey Gillam, writing for The Guardian, the public knows that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found glyphosate residues in a variety of foods. In fact, the agency had trouble finding any foods that didn’t test positive for traces of the chemical, best-known as the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
It’s the FDA’s job to conduct residue testing on food. It’s the responsibility of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate pesticide residues on food. It stands to reason then that the two taxpayer-funded agencies would communicate closely with each other on any food testing involving glyphosate or any other pesticide.
That’s why U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) has filed a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with both agencies, and shared the findings in a series of stories by Gillam, a former Reuters reporter who now directs research for the consumer advocacy group.
The FDA has produced at least some of the documents requested by USRTK. But the EPA has dodged group’s effort to learn more about this matter of public policy and public health.
Industrial agriculture, with its factory farms, GMO monculture crops and toxic chemicals, is one of the leading causes of global warming. You can help cool the planet by choosing organic foods, grown using sustainable, regenerative farming practices.