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.