We’re pretty sure you wouldn’t pick up Ben & Jerry’s ice cream if the side of the pint read “rich chocolate ice cream with swirls of peanut butter and a dusting of weed killer.” Sadly, that might just be what you’re getting.
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream has tested positive for the key ingredient in RoundUp — the weed killer made by Monsanto, that has been called a highly toxic herbicide — according to a report from the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). Eleven samples of the popular ice cream were tested, 10 of which came back positive for this chemical, glyphosate, or “AMPA, glyphosate's main metabolite, or both.” They tested Peanut Butter Cup, Peanut Butter Cookie, Vanilla, Cherry Garcia, Phish Food, The Tonight Dough, Half Baked, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Americone Dream and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, so basically no ice cream lover’s dreams were left unscathed.
The traces of glyphosate and/or AMPA were said to be found as part of an independent lab test. Before you freak out, you should know that glyphosate in food is regulated, and the amount of the chemical in good ol’ Ben & Jerry’s was far below the threshold the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has in place, making the ice cream allegedly safe to eat.
In an article published in the New York Times, Rob Michalak, global director of social mission at Ben & Jerry’s, told the newspaper: “We’re working to transition away from G.M.O., as far away as we can get.” He added: “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.”
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According to the OCA statement: “OCA is calling for Ben & Jerry's, a Vermont-based subsidiary of Unilever, to begin an immediate transition to using only organic ingredients, including milk, in its products or face a national and international consumer boycott.” It continues: “The groups also call on natural and organic food stores to drop the Ben & Jerry's brand unless the company commits to transitioning to organic.
OCA International Director Ronnie Cummins said: "Ben & Jerry's falsely advertises its products as 'natural' and its brand as 'sustainable' and 'socially responsible.' Nothing could be further from the truth.”
The effects of the chemical on humans is not established and quite controversial, but if you’d rather err on the side of caution, you may want to pick up Cherry Garcia, which was the only flavor that tested negative for the chemical.