Ben & Jerry’s Sets Example for Non-GMO Use in Food

This week, the world famous Vermont-based ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s has released a new line called the “core” line-ice cream pints that have a center packed with ingredients such as caramel, chocolate fudge and raspberry jam to create an “all-in-one” ice cream sundae.

Besides the fact that this sounds absolutely heavenly, there is a much bigger reason as to why this new line of ice cream has made headlines. Ben & Jerry’s just released a new mission statement asserting their drive to manufacture a healthier, more sustainable product. In doing so, they have introduced this line that is a Fair Trade certified product as well as 100 percent non-GMO.

When I heard this news, I was beaming with excitement, because I know that this is a major sign of progress in the food industry. But what does it all mean? Being a “Fair Trade” item doesn’t sound like much, but being backed by a massive company such as Ben & Jerry’s could mean great things for the international marketplace. Fair Trade is more than just buying products from a developing company-it means companies such as Ben & Jerry’s pay fair prices for these goods instead of the extremely low pricing of “outsourced” goods, which strengthens that nation’s economy and promotes environmental sustainability.

Well, that’s awesome. Now your indulgence doesn’t seem so shameful. If this isn’t enough of an incentive to choose Ben & Jerry’s the next time you’re having an intense craving for ice cream, you might be happy to know that this food is 100 percent non-GMO. What is that, you ask? GMO stands for genetically modified organism. To put it simply, someone decided, somewhere along the line, that it wasn’t good enough to grow food conventionally. They decided to bring whole, healthy foods into a lab and manipulate their genes by inserting the gene codes of other, wide-ranging organisms in order to express “optimal” traits that would increase crop yields. So, instead of using pesticides, these companies take the gene code from a scorpion that allows it to produce venom and insert it into a cabbage so that insects can’t eat it. Sounds harmless, right? Wrong.

What’s even worse is that the American FDA doesn’t require any GMO labeling unlike the 64 other countries that do. In fact, companies such as Unilever, Monsanto, and The Hershey Co. have paid over $44 million to prevent GMO labeling from becoming a requirement in the U.S. But why are GMOs bad? Well, there isn’t much research to confirm what all of the effects really are. One concern is that this new mode of farming will allow more allergies to exist in our food supply. If you have a sensitivity to gluten, there is a good chance that you’ve obtained it through overexposure to GMOs. Though more research is needed, the potential effects range from antibiotic resistance to cancer. Regardless of what the true outcomes are of this new method of farming, it seems that they are destined to do more harm than good. Although GMO labeling is not required, The Non-GMO Project is an independent organization that labels foods that are certifiably non-GMO and has a special label that you can seek out the next time you go food shopping.

As you can see, Ben & Jerry’s has put out a product that is more than just a new level of delicious. A company as large and far-reaching as Ben & Jerry’s is bound to make a difference on their average consumer and is taking a big step in educating people on the importance of GMO labeling and world sustainability. And you know what the best part is? They didn’t raise the cost of their ice cream a single dime. Now that’s sweet!