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Toxic Herbicide Roundup Found in Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s clings to the idyllic agrarian image evoked by its Vermont heritage and they present themselves as a company focused on progressive causes. Rampant Roundup contamination seems out of place in such a pastoral setting, but the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) found the pervasive pesticide in 10 of 11 Ben & Jerry’s ice cream samples. In response to this disturbing discovery, the OCA has called on natural and organic food stores to drop the Ben & Jerry’s brand unless the company commits to transitioning to organic ingredients.

Ben & Jerry’s has long paid lip service to environmental causes but their stewardship has left much to be desired. They are responsible for any environmental, worker and animal abuse that occurs within their supply chain. With revenues close to $600 million a year and growing, they’re perfectly positioned to become the standard bearer of sustainable and ethical agriculture. 

The term “green washing” could have been coined to describe Ben & Jerry’s. Unfortunately for their carefully cultivated public image, the façade is crumbling. It has grown increasingly difficult to view their practices as sustainable or their products as natural when they rely on the industrial agricultural model that they pretend to be opposed to. 

Roundup-contaminated ice cream is just the most recent incident that calls the corporate ethics of Ben & Jerry’s into question. As of July 2017, they continue to rely on nonorganic dairy and milk from CAFOs. How much more suffering and environmental destruction will occur before Ben & Jerry’s finally abandons their questionable practices and truly embraces a green and sustainable business model?

The discovery of Roundup in an ostensibly natural ice cream is just the tip of the iceberg. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, recently earned the ominous title of the most heavily-used agricultural chemical of all time. It is now showing up virtually everywhere, in blood and urine samples, breast milk, drinking water and food products. 

Your best bet for minimizing health risks from glyphosate exposure is to avoid it in the first place. Eat organic as much as possible and invest in a good water filtration system for your home or apartment. If you know you have been exposed to pesticides, the lactic acid bacteria formed during the fermentation of kimchi may also help your body break down pesticides. Even if it were free from glyphosate, store-bought ice cream does not fit into a nourishing diet of whole food. 

It is worth noting that Ben & Jerry’s supports GMO labeling and could potentially reform their practices. Adopting sustainable practices would demonstrate that they are operating in good faith and that their interest in protecting the environment is more than just a marketing angle.