Ben & Jerry's: non-GMO, fair trade, made with "caring dairy" and cage-free eggs, concerned with the environment ... and containing herbicide? The popular ice cream brand is under fire after the Organic Consumers Association released Tuesday a list of food brands found to contain traces of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup. On that list: 10 of the 11 samples of Ben & Jerry's ice cream that were tested, the New York Times reports. The paper notes that the levels were "far below" the EPA's limits, but Ronnie Cummins, the OCA's international director, notes: "Would you want to be eating this stuff at all?" Business Insider reports social media backlash soon followed, with some consumers calling for a brand boycott. In a press release, the OCA calls for Ben & Jerry's to go completely organic, labeling its current claims of being "all-natural" and "sustainable" as "fraudulent" marketing.
It calls for consumers to sign a petition or stage a protest for a boycott until the brand goes 100% organic. Cummins and Rob Michalak, a company global director, tell the Times the glyphosate in its ice cream likely comes from "add-ins" like peanut butter or cookie dough; ingredients such as wheat, oats, and peanuts are often dried out by being sprayed with herbicide. Michalak notes while Ben & Jerry's plant-based ingredients are non-GMO, the company is still working to use only dairy from farms with non-GMO feed, as well as ridding GMOs from its supply chain. (Fox Business explains Vermont's GMO labeling law allows dairy and egg suppliers to use GMO grains in their feed.) "We need to better understand where the glyphosate they're finding is coming from," Michalak says. The Times has more on how concerning glyphosate may or may not be. (Read more Ben & Jerry's stories.)