Vermont ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's hopes to gain more insight into its supply chain and ingredient sources after an advocacy group found traces of a controversial herbicide in numerous products.
The Organic Consumers Association said last week that independent lab testing of 11 samples of Ben & Jerry's ice cream found just one — Cherry Garcia — that did not test positive for glyphosate or AMPA, its main metabolite.
Ben & Jerry's — which is owned by Unilever — became the latest food company to come under fire for links to glyphosate, the most heavily used weed killer in the world and an increased target for scrutiny after an arm of the World Health Organization deemed it a "probable" carcinogen in early 2015.
The OCA said that the company should transition to organic ingredients and pushed for natural or organic stores to drop the brand without changes.
"Ben & Jerry's falsely advertises its products as 'natural' and its brand as 'sustainable' and 'socially responsible,'" OCA International Director Ronnie Cummins said in a statement. "Nothing could be further from the truth."
Glyphosate is commonly used in combination with seeds that are genetically modified to resist the herbicide. Although the company hopes to source its ingredients from non-modified sources, officials acknowledged a “need to better understand where the glyphosate they’re finding is coming from."
"Maybe it’s from something that’s not even in our supply chain, and so we’re missing it," Rob Michalak, who heads the company's social mission efforts, told The New York Times.
Other regulatory bodies have not reached similar conclusions about glyphosate, and Monsanto, the maker of Roundup herbicide, sharply criticized the 2015 findings by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.