Organic Consumers Association Sues Unilever-Owned Ben & Jerry’s Over Deceptive Advertising and Marketing

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has filed suit against Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc., for deceptive labeling, marketing and sale of Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream products. The suit was filed in D.C. Superior Court under the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act.

“Unilever reportedly spent more than $9 billion on advertising in 2017 alone,” said OCA International Director, Ronnie Cummins. “A significant portion of that was spent to create the false perception that Ben & Jerry’s is committed to a clean environment and high animal welfare standards. Unilever knows those values foster brand loyalty and also allow the company to charge a premium.”

“Ben & Jerry’s decades-old practice of sourcing dairy ingredients from conventional dairy operations has led to a water pollution crisis in Vermont. There is nothing socially or environmentally responsible about that.”

Michael Colby, president of Regeneration Vermont, said: “For decades, Ben & Jerry’s has been doing bad and feeling good about it. While they market it as ‘Caring Dairy,’ the cheap milk produced for Ben & Jerry’s relies upon factory-style farming practices, such as antibiotics use and animal confinement, that contaminate the state’s waterways.”

Regeneration Vermont, OCA’s campaign partner in the Ben & Jerry’s media campaign, has issued reports on the health, environmental, labor and animal welfare threats from industrial dairies that supply Ben & Jerry’s. The Vermont-based nonprofit’s most recent report, “A Failure to Regulate: Big Dairy & Water Pollution in Vermont,” exposes the role factory farms supplying Ben & Jerry’s play in the state’s water crisis, where more than 100 waterways are classified by the U.S. EPA  as “impaired.”

Last year, OCA testing revealed traces of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, in Ben & Jerry’s products purchased in the US and EU.

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