The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has recently reported that 10 of 11 ice cream samples from Ben & Jerry’s tested positive for small amounts of glyphosate contamination. Glyphosate, a potentially carcinogenic compound, is the main constituent of the popular pesticide Roundup by Monsanto. According to OCA, glyphosate traces were seen following independent lab testing of various ice cream flavors including: Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Peanut Butter Cup, The Tonight Dough and Peanut Butter Cookie as well as two samples of Vanilla, Phish Food, Americone Dream, Half Baked and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
Of these flavors, only the Cherry Garcia did not show glyphosate traces, OCA said. The organization had already called on Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s to start shifting to using only organic ingredients in its products or risk a national and international boycott. The OCA has also urged natural and organic food stores to drop the brand unless the ice cream giant commits to being completely organic.
“Ben & Jerry’s falsely advertises its products as ‘natural’ and its brand as ‘sustainable’ and ‘socially responsible.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. Ben & Jerry’s profits are built on the back of an industrial dairy system that poisons the environment and produces pesticide-contaminated food products. Ben & Jerry’s sales, driven in large part by its deceitful claims, damage the organic industry by cutting into the sales of authentic natural, grass-fed and organic producers,” OCA International Director Ronnie Cummins said in a press release on PRNewswire.com.
In response, a spokesperson from Ben & Jerry’s stressed that the company’s products are safe for human intake. “Even if the reported results are accurate, as the laboratory that conducted the test stated, a person would have to consume 145,000 eight-ounce servings PER DAY to reach the limit set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” Ben & Jerry’s spokeswoman Laura Peterson said in MassLive.com.
Rob Michalak, Global Director of Social Mission at Ben & Jerry’s, also said that the company is currently working to make sure all the ingredients taken from its suppliers come from natural sources that are free from genetically-modified organisms. The Ben & Jerry’s official also noted that the company is looking for cost-effective ways to ensure that their milk suppliers use non-GMO feeds.
“We’re working to transition away from GMO, as far away as we can get. But then these tests come along, and we need to better understand where the glyphosate they’re finding is coming from. Maybe it’s from something that’s not even in our supply chain, and so we’re missing it,” Michalak said in an article on The New York Times website.
Other brand name products also found to contain traces of glyphosate
Ben and Jerry’s was the only recent brand name that came under fire for containing glyphosate residues. Early this year, Food Democracy Now! and The Detox Project had commissioned San Francisco-based Anresco Laboratories to carry out a series of laboratory tests to confirm whether glyphosate can be detected in commonly consumed processed foods.
The results showed that General Mills Cheerios had the highest glyphosate content among the products tested, sporting up to 1,125.3 parts per billion (ppb). Other brand name products that showed high glyphosate content included Wheaties, Trix, Kellog’s products and Oreo products as well as Ritz crackers, Doritos, Lays, and Goldfish crackers. (Related: Brand name processed foods found laced with glyphosate weed killer… Cheerios, Wheaties and more.)