Do protests make a difference? We think so—here’s a recent case in point.
On August 10, 2017, members of the Asociación de Consumidores Orgánicos (ACO), the Mexico City-based arm of the Organic Consumers Association, participated in our eight-city international protest against Ben & Jerry’s (a subsidiary of London-based Unilever). The protest followed OCA’s announcement that 10 of 11 samples of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream tested positive for Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
The Mexico City “Dump Ben & Jerry’s” protest caught the attention of officials at the Federal Commission for the Protection of Sanitary Risks (Cofepris), who requested a meeting with the Mexico team. (The Commission, an agency of Mexico’s Ministry of Health, is in charge of preventing and controlling environmental factors potentially harmful to the population, as well as the sanitation and the sanitary control of products and their marketing and labeling).
On August 27 (2017), ACO representatives met with Cofepris officials to discuss concerns about Monsanto’s Roundup in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The meeting produced few surprises. Not unlike what has occurred for decades here in the U.S.— corporations heavily influencing government agencies that are supposed to protect their citizens—Cofepris defended its safety assessment process and its determination about “safe” levels of glyphosate and other pesticides.
Still, because ACO Mexico met with Cofepris, the agency is by law required to direct our concerns to Unilever—which means Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s is now on notice that Mexico consumers know what’s in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. And they want answers.