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Organic Consumers Association Moves for Summary Judgment In False Advertising Suit Against Unilever

Undisputed Facts Show Ben & Jerry’s Falsely Claimed Suppliers Were ‘Required’ To Meet ‘Caring Dairy’ Standards, Nonprofit Says

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 20, 2020

CONTACT: Katherine Paul, Organic Consumers Association, (207) 653-3090, katherine@organicconsumers.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorneys for Organic Consumers Association (OCA) filed a limited motion for summary judgment, with the D.C. Superior Court, in the nonprofit’s false advertising lawsuit, filed in July 2018, against Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s.

The motion asks the court to find that Ben & Jerry’s falsely claimed that its “Caring Dairy” animal husbandry standards were “required for all farmers” who supplied the dairy used in its products. The motion states that Ben & Jerry’s admitted that it uses milk from “conventional dairy sources” that do not adhere to “Caring Dairy” standards.

“Consumer protection laws are intended to protect consumers from advertising, marketing and packaging claims that are patently false,” said Ronnie Cummins, OCA’s international director. “This goal will be achieved only if companies like Unilever are challenged when they make false claims about their brands, and held accountable by the courts. OCA’s mission includes working on behalf of consumers to make sure our legal system defends consumer rights.”

At the time OCA sued Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s packaging directed consumers to “Learn more at benjerry.com.” The “benjerry.com” website stated that the products are made with milk and cream produced by cows kept on farms that meet the requirements of a “Caring Dairy” program, which Unilever called “a unique program that’s helping farmers move toward more sustainable practices on the farm.” The website told consumers that “Basic standards for being a Caring Dairy farmer” were “required for all farmers.”

Unilever recently announced Ben & Jerry’s packaging will no longer advertise its products as containing milk from “happy cows”. The company said the move is unrelated to false advertising lawsuits against the company. However, a recent court filing in a separate lawsuit against the company suggests that the company has been quietly scrubbing its website to remove references to “happy cows” and added the word “voluntary” to a description of its Caring Dairy program.

Richman Law Group represents OCA.

Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit grassroots organization advocating on behalf of millions of consumers for safe, healthful food and a clean environment. Visit: https://www.organicconsumers.org/

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