Ben & Jerry's to drop 'all natural' claim

by Keith Nunes
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BURLINGTON, VT. — Ben & Jerry’s, a division of Unilever North America, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., will remove the claim from packaging that its ice creams and frozen yogurts are “all natural.” Jostein Solheim, chief executive officer of Ben & Jerry’s, made the announcement in a letter of response to Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington.

In April, the C.S.P.I. sent a letter to Paul Polman, c.e.o. of Unilever P.L.C., London, stating that Ben & Jerry’s ice creams and frozen yogurts contain ingredients that “don’t exist in nature or have been chemically altered,” such as alkalized cocoa, corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soybean oil. The C.S.P.I. requested that Ben & Jerry’s drop the claim or the group said it would “take its concerns to the Food and Drug Administration and state attorneys general.”

In his letter of response, Mr. Solheim said, “Ben & Jerry’s is committed to using the most natural ingredients we can find. We are confident that Ben & Jerry’s products are ‘all natural’ as reasonable consumers would understand that term.

“However, we don’t want there to be any questions about our ‘all natural’ claims. Also, we don’t believe that ‘all natural’ claims are the best way to convey Ben & Jerry’s current core values, which focus on the use of milk from family farms that do not use rBGH, the use of certified fair trade ingredients, the use of certified cage-free eggs, and the use of suppliers that work for social justice. Therefore, we have decided to remove these claims and focus more strongly on our other core values.”

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