What I’m about to tell you might be painful, difficult, and downright mean. But I have to say it.
Don’t buy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
No, it has nothing to do with your waistline. The ice cream brand isn’t shy to political issues and has offered its opinion, and pocketbook, to many campaigns in the past. However, Ben & Jerry’s has hopped onto the anti-science/progress/technology bandwagon and call for the mandatory labeling of all genetically modified food.
Earlier this year, Ben & Jerry’s announced it would be swapping out any ingredients in their ice cream that contained GMOs. By the end of the year, they hope to be 100% GMO-free. The biggest change will be sourcing its sugar, which mostly comes from modified sugar beets.
But that wasn’t enough. In light of the Vermont law requiring mandatory labeling for all genetically modified crops, Ben & Jerry’s has decided to donate a portion of its proceeds toward helping the state defend the new labeling law against lawsuits that have already been filed. Referred to as “Food Fight Fund Vermont,” the fund is designed to be a collection for litigation costs the state of Vermont will be forced to spend if it wants to enforce the new mandatory labeling.
For every purchase of ice cream at the Burlington and Waterbury Ben & Jerry’s shops, the brand will donate $1 to the Food Fight Fund.
To defend the lawsuit, it is predicted the state will have to spend $8 million. At the close of last week, they had raised $18,000. That doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but I’m absolutely positive they’re going to use whatever scare tactics, lies, deceptive marketing, and cheap tricks they have to raise the money necessary to defendant this over-reaching law. No doubt Ben & Jerry’s has determined this would be a good decision to sell more ice cream to uninformed and scared consumers; in other words, capitalize on fear.
Ben & Jerry’s main reason for supporting the ban allegedly rests on the premise that Americans have a “right to know” what’s in their food and whether or not the item they’re eating contains GMOs. But, guess what? We already have that — it’s called the organic food label. And while I would never recommend someone should buy organic, if you’re going to be afraid of science and buy into the scare tactics, then that’s exactly what you should do.
I’ve touched on the issue of GMO labeling many times (click here for a direct link to all my labeling articles) and explained why I think it’s a bad idea. A mish mash of state laws is nonsensical. If we’re going to require labels, it should be a federal standard and put into place by the FDA.
In the meantime, you better believe that I will not give one cent to Ben & Jerry’s so they can turn around and use it against American farmers. My money will not go to a company that wants to engage in a smear campaign aimed at hurting the very technology we’re going to need to prevent lots of people from not having enough food. The brand had decided to turn away from efficiency, productivity, meaningful sustainability, and progress. That means I’m done with them.
Call it a boycott if you want; I’m not. I prefer to think of it as “conscious shopping.” There are plenty of ice cream companies that are making quality ice cream from good American dairy farms without the political drama. I choose to purchase those brands instead.
And I hope you’ll join me.
Why is it that you are completely ok with science getting to where you are today, being genetically modified corn, wheat, soy beans etc. but you are not ok when science tells you that they made a HUGE mistake and that GMO's are toxic to your body. Change happens gradually, there are always skeptics, ESPECIALLY when huge amounts of money are concerned. I am a stickler for supporting my local farmers, but only those who realize and have done the research (unbiased research) to make the very important decision to change to NON GMO products. Why are we the only 1st world country that allows food coloring (another topic for later) and GMO to not be labeled on our food products. As a consumer, we do have the right to know. And guess what else? The term "organic" isn't all encompassing! You could very easily have products that are not raised organically or have the correct certification but still be NON GMO. This is a VERY important issue and eventually even you will see that science is an ever changing practice and sometimes they are wrong. GMO's are not healthy for anybody. I PRAISE BEN AND JERRY!!!!!!
Here's the main problem with your comment — there is NO science supporting your position. None. There has never been a scientific study showing that GMOs are bad for people or the environment. NOT ONE. Science is pretty cool because we can actually take a look at different elements in a study and see if it is reliable or not. I'm sure that if you took the time to look at the studies you're gleaming from Natural News and the like (your "unbiased" sources), you would find that those "studies" are not credible and they are not scientific. The labeling efforts are not about your "right to know." They are about scaring consumers into thinking there is something wrong with GMOs which, as I just explained ,there is no evidence for. "Organic" has a specific meaning as certified by the UDSA. Organic production does not allow for the use of GMOs. If you want to avoid GMOs, then go pay a premium for organic food. Finally, my family HAS done research before switching to genetically modified crops. I cannot believe that you have the audacity to suggest otherwise. You may want to read my Farming Friday! series (new one every Friday!) where I discuss how we make the decisions that we make. My dad and brothers are constantly sitting in on meetings with seed dealers, agronomists, and the like to make the best decisions for our farm. Besides, you've come to a conclusion regarding all "GMOs" as if they are all the same. That shows a basic lack of understanding about this issue. You do realize that the different crops have different genetic alterations? Bt sweet corn is not the same as Round-Up Ready field corn. There is a difference and if you really want to be informed, you need to look at each trait individually. (Another way to recognize that your "studies" aren't credible!)
So you are FOR GMOs?! That's a first. I'm actually impressed with what Ben & Jerry's is doing and will continue to buy their ice cream, knowing I'm not putting anything scientifically modified into my body.
Have you been living under a rock? I'm definitely not the first person to support GMOs. I'd love for you to join us on Facebook or Twitter so you can meet and talk with other people that also support biotechnology. I'm quite confident that once you do that, you'll realize the source of your information has been quite incorrect.Meanwhile, if you want to support a company that is trying to capitalize on your fear and lack of information, then go right ahead and buy that ice cream!
Sarah [NurseLovesFar says
Gina,Almost everything we buy on the grocery shelves today has been modified by science, just not necessarily biotechnology using transgenics, which is the most precise and accurate way of doing so.
Thank you for being a voice of reason amidst the vile tsunami of pseudoscience and fear-mongering. Sad that your first two comments were anti-GMO. There are thousands of studies that show GMOs are safe and harmless, but NO credible studies that show they do any harm. I'm waiting for somebody to mention the flawed rat study so I can fill up my anti-GMO Bingo card…
Thanks! I always have that response ready to go too! Ha.
So do you believe in god or do you believe in science and the big bang theory? Also if GMO's are such a great thing, why are they banned in many european countries?
I'm a Christian. Being Christian and trusting science are not mutually exclusive things. Not sure what that has to do with this article. And GMOs aren't really "banned" in European countries. I've discussed this here: https://www.thefarmersdaughterusa.com/2014/04/but-…
Sarah [NurseLovesFar says
Very well written! I think what so many people don't understand is that sugar is sugar is sugar. When processed (as all sugar is) GMO sugar beets, sugar cane, and (YES!) even organic sugars is EXACTLY THE SAME. Thus paying the non-GMO/organic premium is a JOKE. http://kfolta.blogspot.ca/2014/04/gmo-labeling-il…
Pat Burke says
I see that so much. The gasp of indrawn breath, the incredulous "You're for GMOs?!) This is the gmo version of slut shaming, a cheap (and rather juvenile) pseudo-psychologocal ploy akin to the Monsanto Shill Gambit.I used to be vehemently anti-gmo, mainly because I was also an anti-viet nam war protester and Agent Orange. At some point the shrillness and fake panic got to me, I began to wonder why the hospitals and morgues were't overflowing with the dead bodies of the vast bulk of the population that had been eating the " highly toxic" "Frankenfood"Oh, sweet irony. Frankenstein wasn't the monster, antis. The monster in the story was the fear and ignorance of the torch and pitchfork wielding mob. The "creature" was just a misunderstood creation that just wanted to get along. But I can understand that literature is not your strength, just as science, and too often, grammar isn't. Getting a little verbose here so I'll leave you with this little nugget. Table salt, baking soda, theobromine (alkaloid in chocolate), hydrogen peroxide, caffeine, Vitamin D, acetaminophen (Tylenol etc), all more toxic than glyphosate (Roundup). And then there's rotenone and copper sulphate, classified as "very toxic", used as pest/herbicides on organics. (compare glyphosate's "slightly toxic" rating) Look up "LD50" rating for common products, or alternatively, the pertinent Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Don't, however, expect to find them on Mercola, or Doctor Oz, Huffpo etc.
There is a great chart out there for responding to the idiotic "why is it banned in other countries" gambit. It shows something that is banned in countries all over the world, many of the same ones that banned GMO. When you look closely you realize that it's showing countries that have banned homosexuality. Policies in countries are often ignorant and driven by superstition.
I find it a bit confusing to read your opinions. On the one hand you label all farmers as great but then seem to hold certain farmers as bad because they sell their product to a company who has decided to ban GMO. Coming from a farm family does your family sell directly to the public? It appears you have eaten Ben and Jerry ice cream in the past? Do you have an opinion on the use of the dairy hormone used by some dairy farmers? In my experience as a small farmer who does sell directly to the public the way to increase fear is to either not be up front about what is in your product and then keep telling people it is perfectly safe. I, personally have no problem with GMO but if my livelihood depends on selling to a customer who is either uninformed or refuses to be informed then I need to produce what they will buy and at the same time continue to try to educate them.
I'm not sure where you're getting confused. I support conventional farmers and their production methods. Our family farm had a roadside stand for 25 years where we sold fruits and vegetables directly to the public. So I do know about selling directly to the consumer. Guess what, we only ever had maybe ONE person ask if our stuff was organic or GMO-free and when we told them no, they bought some anyway. I don't believe we're hiding anything from consumers. Labeling campaigns of this type have nothing to do with informing consumer and everything to do with scaring them. Not to mention that the things you're most likely to sell directly sell to consumers are not GMOs. With the exception of Bt sweet corn and the Arctic Apple (which is not available yet anyway), there are no GMO fruits or vegetables that are available for sale. Consumers have been scared for nothing.
Debra Groom says
As a journalist who has written about agriculture and GMOs for years, I would like to say I also have never found anything about GMOs that are bad for human beings. In fact, most products that are genetically modified or engineered have distinct benefits for us. It's the same as the BGH issue. Years ago people wanted milk with no BGH added. Well, guess what. Milk naturally has BGH in it, so your milk will have it in there whether you like it or not. And it isn't going to hurt you. Every once in a while there is a big ag scare issue — does anyone remember Alar??? I bet the apple growers do.