At Ben & Jerry’s, we were concerned to learn that recent testing revealed trace levels of the herbicide glyphosate in several of our flavors. Concerned, but not totally surprised. It’s everywhere from mainstream food, to natural food, to rainwater and that’s a problem.
While we’re the company that claims “If it’s not fun, why do it?” we do take issues of food safety and quality very seriously. Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in agriculture and is one of the most pervasive chemicals in our food system. We understand and share our fans’ desire to limit the amount of chemicals in that food system.
The recent New York Times article citing the tests that found trace amounts of the herbicide glyphosate in our products has created quite a stir. The trace levels reported of glyphosate in the tested Ben & Jerry’s flavors at a rate of parts per billion (ppb) ranged from 0 – 1.74 ppb. To put that in context, recent studies found organic whole wheat bread tested 78 times higher and a popular whole grain oat breakfast cereal results were 646 times higher. The levels found in Ben & Jerry’s products “would seem totally irrelevant” according to the Health Research Institute Laboratories representative who performed the test. The NY Times story noted that a 75-pound child would have to eat 145,000 eight-ounce servings per day to reach the limit set by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The bottom line is that our products are safe to eat and the trace levels of glyphosate detected were significantly below all allowable standards.
We also want to be clear about our ongoing and future commitment to the reduction of chemical use in agriculture. Over the last 39 years we led the fight to label rBGH and won, we transitioned to non-GMO ingredients, we committed to source Fair Trade ingredients, and supported sustainability efforts with farmers through our Caring Dairy program. We have never wavered from our commitment to provide ice cream that is safe to eat and tastes great. We understand there is still much to be done. That’s why all of us at Ben & Jerry’s come to work everyday.