Ben & Jerry’s commits support to GMO labeling

In a recent VT Digger article, Ben & Jerry’s spokesman Elizabeth Stewart is quoted as saying “We believe everyone has the right to know what’s in their food.” This statement clarified confusion around the involvement of Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s parent company, in the effort to block California’s Prop 37 initiative last November. According to Stewart, Ben &Jerry’s was not involved on either side of the campaign, which ultimately failed due in large part to the tens of millions of dollars spent by large food and biotech companies.

For much of its information, the article refers to Ben and Jerry’s online statement on GMOs, which sets forth Ben & Jerry’s position in black and white. As such, they outlined their own intention to move away from genetically engineered ingredients in their food. This move includes a commitment to “sourcing non-GMO ingredients for all our products everywhere by year-end 2013” as well as updating packaging labels “so that all Ben &Jerry’s products will be labeled with respect to GMO by 2014.”

This is big news! As more and more companies with socially responsible interests continue to add their presence to the labeling fight, our position grows stronger. With their support, Ben & Jerry’s places itself in the growing ranks of companies taking a stand on the side of the consumer.

Of course, this isn’t the end. Ben and Jerry’s commitment to labeling provides a promising example, but most large food companies won’t take that step on their own. Right now, we’re working with state legislators in both the House and Senate to require the kind of labeling that Ben & Jerry’s has committed to undertake voluntarily.

VPIRG has partnered on this issue with Rural Vermont, NOFA Vermont, Cedar Circle Farm, and many others to form the Vermont Right to Know GMOs Coalition. Together, we need a broad base of support to show our representatives just how important this issue is to us, and that means action. Take a minute to sign our petition, then pass it on to your friends.

If you own a small business and would like to become a part of the VT Right to Know Coalition, contact the coalition at vtrighttoknowgmos@gmail.com