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Ben & Jerry's Corporate Parent, Unilever, Spent $467,000 Against GMO Labeling in California

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Vermont News Page.

Ben & Jerry's parent company, Unilever, spent $467,100 against ballot measure Proposition 37, the recent failed referendum to mandate GMO labeling, in California last year.

But Ben & Jerry's has distanced itself from the actions of its parent company, despite a call for a national boycott against Ben & Jerry's and other firms whose corporate parents spent money on advertising favoring a no vote on Prop 37.

The boycott was called by national agriculture advocacy group the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) late last year.

Now Katherine Paul, communications director for OCA, says her advocacy group is trying to persuade Ben & Jerry's to publicly criticize Unilever's political spending, and also to contribute financially to any Vermont GMO legislative efforts.

"We would love for Ben & Jerry's to come out and be the first of these companies who stands up to their parent companies, and says, 'Consumers have the right to know; you shouldn't be spending all this money to keep us in the dark'," said Paul.

"We think that of all these companies, based on their mission, their roots, and their purported interest in doing the socially responsible thing, and the fact that this fight is happening in their backyard, Ben & Jerry's needs to stand up, and come out and start supporting these GMO labeling laws," she said.

But Ben & Jerry's spokesman Elizabeth Stewart clarified that the firm already supports GMO labeling, adding that Ben & Jerry's hasn't spent money to support or discourage GMO labeling initiatives in the past, preferring to keep out of the financial side of the political equation.