ice cream
Ben & Jerry's/Itemmaster

Carcinogenic Pesticide Found in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

Glyphosate belongs in Roundup, not dessert
ice cream
Ben & Jerry's/Itemmaster

What chemicals are hiding in your ice cream?

We have some tragic news for you. You might want to throw out your Ben & Jerry’s.

Even if you’ve been saving that pint for something special — or, you know, just any other Tuesday — you might want to consider throwing it in the trash, as it could contain dangerous chemicals found in agricultural herbicides.

Investigators from the Organic Consumers Association found glyphosate — the same chemical widely used by agribusinesses and landscapers in the herbicide Roundup — in ten to eleven samples of the ice cream. It’s been suspected as a carcinogen and isn’t exactly something you want to be putting in your mouth. Regardless, the chemical is being found in an increasing number of foods, especially foods that use GMOs and pesticides.

We feel pretty betrayed by this news — Ben & Jerry’s has been known for some time now for its environmental advocacy efforts and their locally-minded manufacture. And with their delectable dairy-free flavor varieties on the market, we’re hesitant to shy away from the brand. How did this infiltration of chemicals happen?

Glyphosate is often used in the production of genetically modified corn and soy products, which the company claims to have quit using. Vermont-based and always devising new, fun flavors, Ben & Jerry’s was last on our list to suspect of exhibiting the harmful effects of GMOs. But the results don’t lie: The chemicals were there.

“We need to better understand where the glyphosate they’re finding is coming from,” insisted Rob Michalak, global director of social mission at Ben & Jerry’s. “Maybe it’s from something that’s not even in our supply chain, and so we’re missing it.” The company plans to continue to investigate, and eventually eradicate their use of GMOs altogether.

Fortunately, the levels found were below the levels deemed dangerous by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While the chemical has been linked to cancer in high doses, no negative effects have been shown due to a sustained, smaller dose.

The flavor found to have the highest concentration of glyphosate was Chocolate Fudge Brownie (a flavor which has actually been recalled before). According to the EPA, to consume enough Chocolate Fudge Brownie to experience even a slight chance of harmful effects from the chemical, an adult would need to consume 290,000 servings of the ice cream in a single day. That’s 72,500 pints.

You’d have to be ice cream crazy.

This disparity prompted a closer look at the organization calling out our favorite ice cream brand — and the results are a little suspect. It seems that The Organic Consumers Association, the organization investigating the pints for chemicals, have been plotting with another organization called Regeneration Vermont to pressure Ben & Jerry’s to go organic.

Founder of Regeneration Vermont Will Allen said in reference to the scandal, “If they went organic, they wouldn’t have this problem.”


Perhaps Ben & Jerry’s should read our list of facts about pesticides, as well — it just might spur them to go organic.