Ben & Jerry’s talks the talk about getting money out of politics.
But make no mistake—the glyphosate we found in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is in there because Monsanto has spent Big Money to bury the truth about its cancer-causing Roundup weedkiller.
It’s not just Monsanto that profits from Roundup sales. Ben & Jerry’s, owned by transnational consumer products conglomerate Unilever, profits, too. By sourcing milk from the industrial factory farm dairy industry, which feeds its cows glyphosate-drenched Roundup-Ready crops, Ben & Jerry’s admittedly “maximizes” profits.
As we wrote last week, it’s a lucky coincidence that we discovered weedkiller residues in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream just as court documents revealing the extent to which Monsanto has lied about the safety of Roundup are coming to light.
Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s know that 66 percent of consumers will pay more for, and remain loyal to products peddled by companies that say they’re committed to positive social and environmental impact.
But no way can Ben & Jerry’s support the company’s claim that it cares about the environment, much less social and economic justice or global warming, as long as it continues to profit by supporting an environmentally disastrous industrial dairy system, instead of Vermont’s organic dairy farmers.
Ben & Jerry’s has a real opportunity to make a real positive impact, instead of creating a phony perception.
We’re glad Ben & Jerry’s wants to get money out of politics. It’s time for the ice cream maker to also get glyphosate out of its ice cream—and out of our soil and waterways.
Today, we’re taking that argument to the streets.
Read our press release
TAKE ACTION: Tell Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim (aka Scooper Man): Roundup-Ready Ice Cream is not ‘socially responsible.’ Go Organic!
Text 'dirtydairy' to 97779 to sign the petition
Sign up to organize a Ben & Jerry’s protest and media event in your community
Call Ben & Jerry’s (802-846-1500) and ask the company to go organic
Post on Ben & Jerry’s Facebook page
Click to tweet this message to Ben & Jerry's
We thought we’d won this one. After OCA and many other groups called for a ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in kids, the EPA, in 2015, finally agreed.
Then long comes the Trump Administration and the very pro-corporate (and apparently pro-poison) EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt. Ignoring the EPA's own science, Pruitt and his merry band of anti-regulators hand Dow, the maker of the poison chlorpyrifos, a win when they overturn the ban,
In other words, they banned the ban.
Fortunately, a few members of Congress are still willing to take a stand against a potent neurotoxin—used to grow food for chrissakes—that's known to cause lower IQs, memory loss and attention deficit disorders, especially in children whose brains are still developing. (Chlorpyrifos is often sprayed and can drift far beyond its target area. It’s been detected in drinking water and in the air around schools, in addition to being associated with acute pesticide poisonings of workers directly on farms.)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) has introduced a bill, “Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act of 2017,” to do what Pruitt’s EPA won’t—stop the use of this dangerous pesticide.
It’s a shame we now have to wait for this bill to crawl through our do-nothing federal legislative process. But if that’s what it takes, let’s ask our Congress members to support it.
TAKE ACTION: Protect Our Children: Toxic Pesticides Have No Place in a Just Food System
It’s tough to even know where to start with this one, but here goes.
A company called Impossible Foods, with $257 million in venture capital funding, recently launched its fake, genetically engineered Impossible Burger—even though, the FDA (supposedly in charge of food safety) can’t say if the burger’s “secret sauce”—soy leghemoglobin—is safe.
How can Impossible Foods put soy leghemoglobin in food if the FDA hasn’t deemed it safe? The New York Times explains:
The F.D.A.’s approval is not required for most new ingredients. Companies can hire consultants to run tests, and they have no obligation to inform the agency of their findings, a process of self-affirmation.”
While you let that sink in . . . here’s the other half of that story. Impossible Foods asked the FDA to weigh in on the safety of its “secret sauce” ingredient, even though it wasn’t required to. The agency did. This is what regulators wrote in a memo to Impossible Foods:
“F.D.A. believes the arguments presented, individually and collectively, do not establish the safety of soy leghemoglobin for consumption,” nor do they point to a general recognition of safety.”
Despite that statement, the Impossible Burger went to market. Because, as it turns out, a company can introduce into the food system a product or ingredient that the FDA says may not be safe—as long as the FDA doesn’t say the product is unsafe.
That’s one issue with the Impossible Burger. Here’s the other. According to Max Goldberg, author of “Living Maxwell,” Impossible Foods uses genetic engineering to make the secret sauce that the FDA won’t say is safe. In his column, which appeared on the same day as the New York Times article, Goldberg raised the question of genetic engineering, and whether Impossible Foods is misleading consumers. Goldberg explains how the Impossible Burger is made:
The key to the Impossible Burger is making the burger look and taste like a regular hamburger. Impossible Foods accomplishes this, at scale, through genetic engineering.
Impossible Foods begins with the gene for a protein called leghemoglobin, a heme protein that is naturally found in the root nodules of soy plants. It then takes a strain of genetically-engineered yeast and adds the soy leghemoglobin gene, and proceeds to grow the yeast via the fermentation process. The company isolates the leghemoglobin, or heme, from the yeast and adds that genetically-engineered protein to the Impossible Burger.
To read the company’s website, however, you’d be hard pressed to figure out if you’re eating GMO. And that may be intentional.
Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union, told Goldberg:
“The way in which Impossible Foods is loosely and interchangeably using the word “heme” is misleading consumers. The average person with no scientific background would reasonably read the FAQ section of this website and think that the genetically-engineered heme in the Impossible Burger is ‘identical’ to the heme that humans have been consuming for hundreds of thousands of years in meat and other foods. This is categorically not true.”
If you find this all a little impossible to understand, much less believe, well, welcome to the dark side of “food tech.”
Of Burgers, Blood and Balderdash
Read ‘Impossible Burger’s ‘Secret Sauce’ Highlights Challenges of Food Tech’
Read ‘Impossible Foods Is ‘Misleading Consumers’ About Its GMO Protein, FDA Rejects the Claim That It Is Safe for Consumption’
"It is illegal to kill your missus,Or put poison in your old man's tea,But poison the rivers, the seas, the skies,and poison the minds of people with lies,Its all in the interest of free enterprise,Nonetheless it is perfectly legal" ~ Ewan MacColl, singer-songwriter
The company that swore up and down that PCBs were “safe” has also, for decades, been lying about the safety of its flagship product, Roundup weedkiller.
From court documents recently made public, we now know that there’s no independent, credible scientific evidence to support Monsanto’s claim that Roundup, the full formulation which includes glyphosate and other ingredients, is safe:
“. . . you cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen…we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement.” – Donna Farmer, lead toxicologist for Monsanto, in a November 2003 email
It’s just one of so many recent revelations.
Monsanto employees ghostwrote studies that were passed off as authored by “independent scientists.
Monsanto employees colluded with former EPA officials to bury the truth about Roundup and glyphosate.
Monsanto orchestrated attacks on the World Health Organization agency after a panel of 17 international scientists unanimously concluded that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen.
Monsanto was also behind forcing a scientific journal to unpublish a study showing that glyphosate in very low levels may cause cancer.
For decades, Monsanto has been poisoning “the rivers, the seas, the skies” and the “minds of people with lies.”
But let’s not forget that Monsanto doesn’t act alone. In addition to the complicity of agencies like the EPA, Monsanto gets a lot of help from corporations that also profit from poisons like Roundup. Corporations (yes even those with squeaky-clean images like Ben & Jerry’s), that profit by allowing the continued use of Roundup-Ready crops in their supply chains, are guilty, too.
It’s all done in the name of a “free enterprise” system that gives corporations a free ride.
But it's anything but “free” for the rest of us, stuck with the hospital bills (or worse), and the tab for cleaning up the mess.
We have little hope that government agencies or policymakers will defend our environment or our health against those who poison in the name of "free enterprise." This is a fight we must fight in the courts, and in the marketplace.
With your support, we will.
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)
Donate to Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our GMO labeling legislative efforts)
Support our ‘Ben & Jerry’s: Go Organic!’ campaign (donations to OCA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, are tax deductible)
Can a hardware store stop selling synthetic fertilizers and pesticides without going out of business?
Yes, say the owners of Eldredge Lumber and Hardware in York, Maine.
In this week’s video, produced by our friends at Beyond Pesticides, owner Scott Eldredge explains how important it is to educate consumers. It’s not just about swapping out toxic products for organic products. It’s also about taking a holistic approach to lawn management. It all comes down to life in the soil. It’s organic material—not products like Miracle-Gro —that feed the soil.
Eldredge says his customers have responded positively to the store’s decision to drop toxic products. And why not?
"You're protecting your environment, you're protecting your family, your children and grandchildren, and your neighbors. Nobody wants to have pesticides drifting into their front or year yard, and people are just loving it, they're feeding into it”
Watch ‘Making the Switch’
TAKE ACTION: Tell Scotts: I'm boycotting all your lawn and garden products until you stop distributing Monsanto's Roundup!
We can probably all agree that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller and its key ingredient, glyphosate, in our food and in our drinking water, poses a risk to our health—especially in light of the latest revelations about how Monsanto has conspired to deceive us on just how toxic Roundup is.
But a topic that gets less attention, is how damaging widespread use of Roundup is to soil. And lest we need a reminder civilizations “rise and fall” depending on the quality of their soil.
Last month, Beyond Pesticides reported on a review of studies what Roundup and glyphosate do to the quality of soil.
The review, by Robert J. Kremer, PhD, of the University of Missouri School of Natural Resources, cites concerns that include: reduction of nutrient availability for plants and organisms; disruption to organism diversity, especially in the areas around plant roots; reductions of beneficial soil bacteria; increases in plant root pathogens; disturbed earthworm activity; reduced nitrogen fixing at plant roots; and compromised growth and reproduction in some soil and aquatic organisms.
Just one more reason, as if we needed it, to rid the world of Roundup.
Read the full study: ‘Soil and Environmental Health after Twenty Years of Intensive Use of Glyphosate’
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Is Democratic and Sustainable Trade Possible?
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