Ben & Jerry’s Responds to Boycott Soiled Dairy
Story at-a-glance –
- Ben & Jerry’s has created an ice cream empire by portray their model as a socially and environmentally accountable one, however the fact is their ice cream is made with CAFO milk that’s destroying the surroundings
- Lake Carmi in Franklin, Vermont, is in environmental disaster, stricken by blue-green algae, also referred to as cyanobacteria, brought on by industrial farm runoff
- CAFOs within the space are major suppliers for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream; the corporate’s CEO just lately toured the lake, acknowledging the in depth air pollution however providing little in the best way of options
- Shopper advocacy teams are calling on Ben & Jerry’s to transform to natural milk suppliers — natural and grass fed could be even higher — to stay as much as their acknowledged mission
By Dr. Mercola
Many well being and environmentally aware people who get pleasure from ice cream as an occasional deal with be ok with selecting Ben & Jerry’s model. They’ve painted the idyllic picture of a socially accountable firm “with a continued dedication to incorporating healthful, pure substances and selling enterprise practices that respect the Earth and the surroundings,” as they put it.1 But, it’s simply that — a picture, not an image of actuality.
As I wrote about earlier this 12 months, Ben & Jerry’s has succeeded wildly in one of many best greenwashing scams of all time. They promote their Caring Dairy program as involving 300 “household operated” farms, giving the phantasm that fortunately grazing cows produce the wealthy, creamy milk with which they make their premium ice cream.
But, moderately than supporting grass fed natural agriculture, they’re merely using on its coattails, pretending their ice cream is a premium product when in truth it’s comprised of the identical CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) milk yow will discover in lots of different manufacturers. It’s true that Ben & Jerry’s will get most of its milk from Vermont farms, however that’s the rub.
Many individuals assume that Vermont is house to huge acres of rolling pastures. In actuality, as famous by nonprofit advocacy group Regeneration Vermont, the CAFO dairies supplying Ben & Jerry’s are unethical for the animals and destroying the state’s waterways. In accordance with Regeneration Vermont, in a report titled, “A Failure to Regulate: Large Dairy & Water Air pollution in Vermont:”2
“[C]ontamination from the mega-dairies that offer Vermont’s huge manufacturers, like Ben & Jerry’s and Cabot Cheese, is nothing new to Vermonters,three particularly in terms of the contamination of our waterways. For many years, these iconic manufacturers have garnered huge income – every hovering across the $1 billion-a-year degree – whereas pushing a sort of confinement, non-grazing dairy manufacturing, leading to a poisonous farm runoff that’s actually choking our lakes and streams.
Even the beloved Lake Champlain is one in all greater than 100 different our bodies of water in Vermont which might be categorised as ‘impaired.’ And, in lots of instances, ‘impaired’ means stuffed with the inexperienced slime that’s cyanobacteria, smelling so badly that summer time camps have develop into uninhabitable, and seashores are posted with indicators that warn, ‘no swimming.’”
Ben & Jerry’s Has Been Polluting Vermont for 20 Years
This isn’t information to Ben & Jerry’s, after all. Regardless of being instructed of the harm their dairy suppliers are creating within the surroundings, the corporate has refused to transition their farmers to an natural, regenerative resolution for twenty years. Michael Colby, former editor of Meals & Water Journal and co-founder of Regeneration Vermont, acknowledged:four
“It was 20 years in the past final month that Meals & Water printed our report on Vermont’s atrazine dependancy, a poisonous herbicide that’s banned in Europe however continues for use in abundance on Vermont’s 92,00zero acres of GMO-derived feed corn — all for dairy cows. We used the report back to get the eye of Ben & Jerry’s, and it labored. We thought when the doorways swung open to the places of work of Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield themselves that we would be able to make the case to them.
Our plea on the time was the identical as it’s as we speak: Ben & Jerry’s ought to apply what it preaches and assist transition its farmers to natural manufacturing. In the event that they took the lead, we argued, your complete state may start a transition away from the sort of industrial, commodity-based dairy system that’s wreaking a lot havoc with Vermont’s agriculture …
We thought the plain imbalance — and even direct, outright hypocrisy — between what Ben & Jerry’s was doing and what they have been saying could be sufficient to get these do-good hippies to do the appropriate factor. We have been utilizing logic. As a result of, actually, the company that needed to ‘save the planet’ and ‘put the planet earlier than income’ would wish to cease being one of many state’s high polluters, proper?
Mistaken. We have been instructed on the time, by Ben himself, after a 12 months’s price of conferences and even a proposal of a job to me ‘to work with us as an alternative of going after us,’ that Ben & Jerry’s was not going to transition to natural as a result of it would not enable them to ‘maximize income.’”
Ben & Jerry’s Executives Pressured to Go to Contaminated Lake Carmi
Lake Carmi in Franklin, Vermont, is a favourite spot for recreation and helps northern pike, walleyes and different warm-water species — or at the least, it as soon as did. The as soon as pristine lake is now in environmental disaster, stricken by blue-green algae, also referred to as cyanobacteria. It may produce toxins which might be dangerous to people and marine life. Pores and skin rashes and respiratory points may end up from publicity to the algae, and may it get into an open wound, it will possibly result in a staph an infection.5
As fertilizer and manure from industrial farms run off and enter waterways, they result in an overabundance of vitamins, together with nitrogen and phosphorus, within the water — vitamins that fertilize the expansion of the algae blooms now taking on. What does this should do with Ben & Jerry’s? Regeneration Vermont defined:6
“Lake Carmi sits at floor zero for the state’s industrial dairy business, Franklin County, house to greater than 36,00zero confined cows (and solely 47,00zero folks), making a staggering quantity of phosphorus-rich manure. This county’s mega-farms are the first dairy suppliers for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.”
Ben & Jerry’s continues to show a blind eye towards the devastation, so Regeneration Vermont and members of the Franklin Watershed Committee made them a proposal they couldn’t refuse: tour Lake Carmi and the encircling watershed to see the harm firsthand.
In a commentary by Jostein Solheim, Ben & Jerry’s CEO, it’s famous, “Ben & Jerry’s acknowledges that we’re related to the farms within the Lake Carmi watershed. Our Caring Dairy farm program, which we implement by means of the St. Albans Cooperative, has members within the Lake Carmi watershed.”7
Solheim then goes on to state, “[The Ben & Jerry’s team] discovered it tragic to see the polluted situation of this often lovely lake, which is presently experiencing the worst cyanobacteria bloom in current reminiscence. The situation of the lake, the hardship it’s pressured upon native residents and companies is, effectively, heartbreaking.” A minimum of progress is going on in that Regeneration Vermont was capable of get Ben & Jerry’s CEO out to see the contaminated lake.
The remainder of the commentary, although, reads like a chunk of fluff, with Solheim praising the corporate’s Caring Dairy farm program and stressing that the issues created “will not be ours alone to resolve.”
It mentions a “renewed imaginative and prescient for dairy farming in Vermont” and notes that “many extra particulars of our imaginative and prescient for the way forward for our farms” might be obtainable quickly. In different phrases, it’s paying homage to the numerous conversations Regeneration Vermont has had with Ben & Jerry’s previously. As famous by Will Allen, proprietor of Cedar Circle Farm, a regenerative farm in Vermont, and Regeneration Vermont co-founder:eight
“Stalling has been refined to an artwork kind with Ben & Jerry’s social mission and dairy groups. In April 2016, they felt that they’d have a choice on altering their dairy sourcing by September/October 2016. When October got here, they felt that they’d have a choice by December. In December, we have been instructed that February or March could be after they made their sourcing resolution.
In February, a Unilever director supplied to arrange conferences with Ben & Jerry’s CEO and us (Regeneration Vermont) and Roger Allbee, the previous Vermont secretary of agriculture. Six months later, we’re nonetheless hoping to have that assembly. Lastly, April or Might was to be the goal date for making sourcing choices. [As of] … July — nonetheless no resolution, nonetheless no assembly with the CEO. Nonetheless stalling.”
Ben & Jerry’s Is Not Natural; Ice Cream Examined Constructive for Glyphosate Residue
Ben & Jerry’s has managed to scoot by below the radar of even probably the most environmentally aware customers by creating an aura of a socially accountable natural firm with out truly being one.
They don’t have any motive to change to natural or grass fed farming as a result of, as Colby put it, “the advertising is working simply nice.” “’Folks assume we’re natural,’ is what we have been instructed time and time once more in non-public conferences,” Colby says, “whereas asking them to really go natural. If fooling folks permits for maximizing income, why cease fooling them?”9
But, you is perhaps shocked to be taught that, in July 2017, the Natural Shoppers Affiliation (OCA) reported that 10 of 11 samples of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream they examined got here again optimistic for glyphosate, the energetic ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and/or its fundamental metabolite AMPA.10
In response, OCA referred to as on Ben & Jerry’s to right away transition to utilizing solely natural substances, together with milk, “or face a nationwide and worldwide shopper boycott.” Echoing Regeneration Vermont, OCA worldwide director Ronnie Cummins additionally referred to as out Ben & Jerry’s for deceiving the general public with a greenwashed picture:11
“Ben & Jerry’s falsely advertises its merchandise as ‘pure’ and its model as ‘sustainable’ and ‘socially accountable.’ Nothing may very well be farther from the reality. Ben & Jerry’s income are constructed on the again of an industrial dairy system that toxins the surroundings and produces pesticide-contaminated meals merchandise. Ben & Jerry’s gross sales, pushed largely by its deceitful claims, harm the natural business by chopping into the gross sales of genuine pure, grass-fed and natural producers.”
On a brighter be aware, greater than 200 (about 20 %) of the dairy farms in Vermont have already made the transition to natural farming, by means of no assist from Ben & Jerry’s. This can be a good begin, however a whole bunch extra must comply with swimsuit. Additionally, these issues are hardly restricted to Vermont. Industrial dairy farms throughout the U.S. are contributing to the destruction of the environment and human well being.
Help Grass Fed Natural Farmers, Even When Shopping for Ice Cream
A key message each Cummins and Allen ship is the significance of avoiding all CAFO animal merchandise, be it beef, poultry, eggs, milk or different dairy merchandise reminiscent of ice cream. Probably the most impactful adjustments you as a person could make is to change from CAFO animal merchandise to natural, grass fed beef and dairy that does not depend on such damaging practices. Many don’t notice this, however grazing animals are literally a vital a part of the ecology and may even play a job in regenerating the surroundings.
For the reason that early 1800s, grasslands in North America have decreased by 79 % — and in some areas by 99.9 %,12 oftentimes to plant GMO corn and soy fields, which in flip are fed to herbivores that may very well be grazing as an alternative of consuming grains fed to them on concrete. As Allen acknowledged:13
“It’s time to cease pretending that Ben & Jerry’s is a socially or environmentally aware company. They know the way damaging their milk provide chain is. They know that labor is being abused. They know that cows are burning out earlier than they’re 5 years previous. They know that antibiotics have been being misused.
They know that the dairies that offer their milk are polluting our ingesting water and many of the rivers and lakes in Vermont. They’ll’t faux that they didn’t know the way damaging their provide chain is, as a result of we shared all this knowledge with them. But they refuse to behave.”
Certainly, Regeneration Vermont is amongst these urging the ice cream maker to supply milk from natural/regenerative farmers, which might sign to determined dairy farmers struggling to make a dwelling amid an industrial milk glut that there’s one other, viable possibility, one other option to farm. Till that point, help dairy farmers who’re producing uncooked, grass fed milk merchandise, and meals producers sourcing grass fed milk, not these perpetuating the CAFO mannequin.
Getting your uncooked grass fed milk and different meals from a neighborhood natural farm or co-op is likely one of the finest methods to make sure you’re getting high-quality meals, and if you happen to’re within the temper for a deal with, you can also make your personal grass fed milk ice cream at house. Within the Midwest, the Kalona SuperNatural model is the primary dairy model to develop into licensed by the American Grassfed Affiliation (AGA).
An AGA emblem on a product lets you already know the animals have been fed a lifetime food plan of 100 % forage, have been raised on pasture (not in confinement) and weren’t handled with hormones or antibiotics.14 I strongly encourage you to hunt out AGA licensed dairy merchandise as they develop into extra broadly obtainable. You too can find a uncooked, grass fed milk supply close to you on the Marketing campaign for Actual Milk web site. California residents can discover uncooked grass fed milk retailers through the use of the shop locator obtainable at www.OrganicPastures.com.
Inform Ben & Jerry’s to Begin Residing as much as Their Picture
OCA has created a petition15 to encourage Ben & Jerry’s to transform to natural and cease hoodwinking prospects into considering they’re natural by claiming to be all-natural and environmentally accountable. Please present your help for this initiative by signing the petition beneath. Higher but, name Ben & Jerry’s instantly (802-846-1500) and ask the corporate to meet their mission assertion and go natural.
You too can ship them a message utilizing the net contact kind on the backside of their contact web page. Please give them a name, and ask your loved ones and mates to contact them as effectively. Bear in mind, you’ve the ability to make a distinction.
- 1 Ben & Jerry’s, Values
- 2, 6 Regeneration Vermont, A Failure to Regulate: Large Dairy & Water Air pollution in Vermont
- three VT State Parks, Lake Carmi
- four, 9 VT Digger July 24, 2017
- 5 Tampa Bay Instances July 1, 2016
- 7 VT Digger September 27, 2017
- eight, 13 VT Digger July 12, 2017
- 10, 11 Organic Shoppers Affiliation July 25, 2017
- 12 Undark April 26, 2017
- 14 American Grassfed, Turn out to be an Permitted AGA Producer
- 15 Organic Shoppers Affiliation, Ben & Jerry’s Petition