Ben and Jerry's faces boycott threats after a new study uncovers a major ingredient in weedkillers in ice cream

Ben & Jerry's — a brand famous for its quality and eco-friendly practices — is under fire after a test uncovered a controversial ingredient in its ice cream.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) found glyphosate, the main ingredient in weedkillers like Roundup, in 10 out of 11 samples of the company's ice cream flavors, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

A Visit to the Ben & Jerry's Flavor Graveyard
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A Visit to the Ben & Jerry's Flavor Graveyard

Ben & Jerry’s is constantly innovating and releasing new varieties, but if no flavors were ever retired then there would quickly be a back-up, and way too many options to choose from when the ice cream craving strikes. More than 200 flavors have been retired to far, and more are added to the pack every year. But only the truly memorable ones make it to the Flavor Graveyard. Read on to pay your respects to those flavors that are no longer with us.

Credit: Dan Myers

The Flavor Graveyard

High on a hill, the graveyard looms...

Credit: Dan Myers

Devil’s Food Chocolate, 1996-2001

"The Devil took the blame
For all the rich indulgence.
Now watch him fan the flame,
melting puddles of wicked succulence."

Credit: Dan Myers

Urban Jumble, 2000-2001; Makin’ Whoopie Pie, 2002-2003

"The chaos & cacophony of busy city life
lies peaceful under a maple tree, the flavor lost its strife."

"Though we sure loved
Makin’ Whoopie Pie
And you loved eatin’ the stuff,
After a while we all had to admit
It just wasn’t Whoopie enough."

Credit: Dan Myers

Bovinity Divinity, 1996- 2001

"Where do all the cows go when heaven gives the word?
This flavor kicked the bucket when angels took the herd."

Credit: Dan Myers

Holy Cannoli, 1997-1998; Dastardly Mash, 1979-1991

"Now in front of the pearly gates,
Holy cannoli sits and waits.
What brought its ruin no one knows,
Must have been the pistachios."

"Here the brazen DASTARDLY lies.
Some say that raisin,
Caused its demise."

Credit: Dan Myers

Tennessee Mud, 1988-1989

"The bottle is empty,
The cup, and the glass.
Mud with Jack Daniels
Was not meant to last."

Credit: Dan Myers

Peanut Butter and Jelly, 1998-1999; Wild Maine Blueberry, 1992-1993

"An unbeatable duo!
Yet somehow it managed
To flop in a cone,
So we stuck to the sammich."

"Wild Maine Blueberry
From the land of the puffin,
Now when we crave you
We turn to the puffin."

Credit: Dan Myers

Peanuts! Popcorn! 2000-2000; Rainforest Crunch, 1988-1988

"Peanuts! Popcorn!
Mix ‘em in a pot!
Pop ‘em in your ice cream!
Well, maybe not."

"With aching heart & heavy sigh
We bid Rainforest Crunch goodbye.
That nutty brittle from exotic places
Got sticky in between our braces."

Credit: Dan Myers

Cool Brittania, 1995-1998; Oh Pear, 1997-1997

"A flavor so smashing-
& yet it fouled out;
Strawberries & shortbread-
a love match devout
But sadly it missed
all the fame it deserved,
A bit too much English
put into the serve."

"Oh Pear, Oh Pear,
A mixture of mirth
All nannies did weep
When you left of this earth."

Credit: Dan Myers

White Russian, 1986-1996; Economic Crunch, 1987

"Bid adieu to ol’ White Russian,
Our tears, they are a-gushin’
But in our scoop shops,
please don’t forget,
Dead it’s not, oh no, not yet."

"A delightful mash,
This flavor we remember,
For the stock market crash
on the sixth of November."

Credit: Dan Myers


While the levels of glyphosate were well below the legal limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Organic Consumers Association argues that any presence of the pesticide product is misleading and potentially dangerous.

"It's time for Ben & Jerry's to announce it will immediately begin transitioning to 100-percent organic," using zero pesticides in production, the OCA said in a post on its website. "Otherwise conscious consumers have no choice but to launch a national and, if necessary, international protest campaign and boycott."

ben and jerryAlberto Rodriguez / Getty

The OCA has called for Ben & Jerry's to stop labeling its ice creams as "natural" because the brand's dairy cows consume genetically-engineered corn (the brand told the Times that it is working to find all-natural alternatives). Add-ins, such as peanut butter or cookie dough, containing ingredients that have been sprayed with the weedkiller may also be the source of the glyphosate in the ice creams, according to the Times.

The question of if glyphosate is dangerous to consume is still hotly debated. While the World Health Organization said in 2015 that the weed killer was "probably carcinogenic," Reuters reported in June that scientific data may not fully back that claim.

Despite the continued debate, many customers simply do not want to have a herbicide ingredient in their food. Soon after the Times published its article on the OCA's ice cream test, the brand began receiving complaints and boycott threats on social media.

"You are my favorite ice cream brand, but I CANNOT buy your ice cream again until it no longer comes up positive for MONSANTO'S GLYPHOSATE," one person wrote on the brand's Facebook page, referring to Roundup's maker and leading G.M.O. seed producer, Monsanto.

Ben & Jerry's, which was founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (who the OCA calls "two affable hippies") in 1978, did not immediately return Business Insider's request for comment. The company has long had a reputation for advocating for the environment and social justice, even after its acquisition by consumer goods giant Unilever in 2001.

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