“While we have not yet seen the results, we can confirm all Ben & Jerry’s products are safe to consume,” Ben & Jerry’s told DairyReporter.
Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) and their byproduct aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) are found in common pesticides used worldwide on a variety of crops as well as non-crop land.
The results of the lab testing detected trace amounts of glyphosate in 10 out 11 Ben & Jerry’s ice cream samples including the flavors: Peanut Butter Cup, Peanut Butter Cookie, Vanilla (two samples), Phish Food, The Tonight Dough, Half Baked, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Americone Dream and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie registered the highest level of GBH at 1.74 parts per billion and AMPA at 0.91 parts per billion. Cherry Garcia was the only flavor to test negative for the herbicide.
“Even if the reported results are accurate, as the laboratory that conducted the test stated, a person would have to consume 145,000 eight-ounce servings PER DAY to reach the limit set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),” Ben & Jerry’s said.
OCA founder Ronnie Cummins and Ben & Jerry’s global director of social mission, Rob Michalak, told The New York Times that the detected glyphosate in its ice cream probably comes from "add-ins" like peanut butter or cookie dough or ingredients such as wheat, oats, and peanuts, which are sprayed by the herbicide.
What are safe levels of glyphosate?
Glyphosate residues are routinely detected in food products and the acceptable daily intake of the herbicide is 1.75mg/kg per day in the US, according to a report published in January 2017 in the scientific journal Nature.
Toxicity studies have shown that glyphosate may provoke toxic effects on liver and kidney functions. However, “it should be noted that most results from these GBH toxicity studies were obtained at doses far greater than general human population exposure,” scientists added.
OCA argued that there is no “safe” level of glyphosate suggested by regulatory agencies and has called for Ben & Jerry's to begin an immediate transition to using only organic ingredients, including milk.
The group has also urged natural and organic food stores to drop the Ben & Jerry's brand unless the company commits to transitioning to organic.