Ben & Jerry’s

Yo, Ben & Jerry’s Thinks You Have the Right to Know.

All of us at Ben & Jerry’s are proud to join the list of companies, citizens, farmers, not-for-profits, change makers, and others in the Just Label It Coalition.  We are compelled to join the campaign for mandatory labeling because we believe that everyone has the right to know what’s in the food they eat.  We also think that genetically modified crops are inconsistent with our commitment to support sustainable small-scale family farming.

Some have labeled us “early pioneers” in the consumer right-to-know movement, when we legally fought for our right to label our ice cream with an anti-rBGH message (recombinant growth hormone, a genetically engineered growth hormone designed to increase milk production in dairy cows).  To ensure our supply, we paid our Vermont family farmers a premium to provide us with only non-rBGH dairy.  We stood with consumers who demanded the right to know and we won the day. Today’s call for labeling is not dissimilar from the rBGH fight of years ago.  And like then, we are in it to win it!

Our progressive values statement, written more than 15 years ago, says “The growing of food is overly reliant on the use of toxic chemicals and other methods that are unsustainable. We support sustainable and safe methods of food production that reduce environmental degradation, maintain the productivity of the land over time, and support the economic viability of family farms and rural communities”.  We have real concerns that the ubiquitous use of GMO crops is inconsistent with our values and commitment to small scale family farming.

We feel it is important to walk our talk too, so here is what Ben & Jerry’s is committed to doing.

  1. We intend to work with our trusted suppliers to buy ingredients that are sourced non-GMO.  Already, 80% by volume of all the ingredients we buy are sourced non-GMO.  We expect that our transition of the final 20% will be complete by the end of 2013.
  2. We want to work with farmers, retailers, suppliers, NGOs, and others to develop an action plan that can support an increased supply of non-GMO crops.  With the overwhelming majority of corn, soy, sugar beats, canola, coming from GMO seed it is hard to source non-GMO in the United States. We want to change that.
  3. We will actively campaign for mandatory labeling legislation.

We’d love to know what you think so, pop on over to BenJerry.com and give us some feedback.