Ben & Jerry’s Fudging The Truth, Says CSPI

Nothing “All Natural” About Artificial Ingredients

July 30, 2002

Ben & Jerry’s misleads customers by falsely claiming that some of its ice cream and frozen yogurt products are “All Natural,” when they contain artificial flavors, hydrogenated oils, or other factory-made substances, according to a complaint filed today by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The group wants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take enforcement action against the company, a unit of the multinational food conglomerate Unilever.

“Ben & Jerry’s enjoys a carefully-cultivated public image as an eco-friendly, worker-friendly brand—the kind of company whose label claims should be truthful,” CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson said. “So it’s sad that Ben & Jerry’s is trying to pass off products laden with these factory-spun ingredients as ‘natural,’ when there’s little natural about them. These ingredients are man-made and simply don’t occur in nature.”

The label for Ben & Jerry’s “Everything But The ...” ice cream states “all natural.” But the small print in the ingredient list lists artificial flavors—an outright violation of the FDA’s rules.

Other Ben & Jerry’s products, like “Chocolate Fudge Brownie Low Fat Frozen Yogurt,” include man-made ingredients like partially hydrogenated soybean oil, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, and alkalized cocoa powder. Use of the term “all natural”—and the implication that the product might be more healthful than another product—is especially misleading in the case of a hydrogenated oil, which likely contains heart-damaging trans fat, according to the complaint.


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