The Organic Consumers Association is up to its old tricks again and has filed a suit against Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s for what it says is deceptive labeling, marketing, and sale of their ice cream products. The suit was filed in D.C. Superior Court under the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act.
“Unilever reportedly spent more than $9 billion on advertising in 2017 alone,” OCA International Director Ronnie Cummins said of Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever. “A significant portion of that was spent to create the false perception that Ben & Jerry’s is committed to a clean environment and high animal welfare standards. Unilever knows those values foster brand loyalty and also allow the company to charge a premium.
“Ben & Jerry’s decades-old practice of sourcing dairy ingredients from conventional dairy operations has led to a water pollution crisis in Vermont. There is nothing socially or environmentally responsible about that.”
However, the OCA is known for having a grudge against Ben & Jerry’s. Last year, the activist group made headlines by going after Ben & Jerry’s in suspected retaliation for the ice cream company’s refusal to bend to activist demands to source milk differently.
In that attack, the OCA had said it found trace amounts of glyphosate in Ben & Jerry’s products purchased in the US. and Europe. The results were published in a New York Times article by Stephanie Strom and claimed glyphosate was identified in 10 of 11 flavors. However as Dr. Kevin Folta points out, no research or testing methods were reported and it was not peer reviewed — and not to mention that detecting glyphosate is difficult. He, as well as several others in the scientific community, dismissed the report.
Folta said B&J is a curious target for OCA.
“They have made very public statements about the need for unnecessary food labels and risk of GE crops,” Folta writes in his column Ben and Scary’s or bogus news scoop? “But the overarching goal is to sneak a clickbait title in front of the public, knowing that the story of poison in a comfort food item gets readers, fulfills an activist agenda, and most of all spreads fear of perfectly safe food.”