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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ben and Jerry's 'Natural Ice Cream' Isn't So Natural After All, Consumers Say

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 3:15 PM

click to enlarge Ben and Jerry  vs. healthy people
  • Ben and Jerry vs. healthy people

A group of health nuts can continue litigation against Ben and Jerry's as well as Breyers, claiming the ice cream makers falsely advertised their creamy deliciousness as "all natural" when it really isn't.

Initially, Breyers and Ben and Jerry's assumed upset consumers had no grounds -- and filed a counterclaim in court. Yet last week a federal judge ruled otherwise, saying there is enough evidence to show that the plaintiffs might have a solid court case.

In a class action lawsuit filed last year, plaintiffs said they were duped into consuming many, many pints of ice cream over the years, believing it was all natural. Had they known that the treats were even slightly processed, they would have not indulged themselves.

"If the plaintiffs did indeed purchase the ice cream based on the

representation that it was 'all natural' and if that representation

proves to be false, then they arguably have suffered an injury in fact," according to last week's ruling.

According to the plaintiffs, the two ice cream makers misrepresented Dutch and alkalized cocoa as entirely natural, when in fact both are processed with potassium carbonate -- a manmade ingredient.

On Aug. 12, 2010, the Center for Science in the Public Interest fired off a letter to Unilever, the parent company of Ben and Jerry's and Breyers, listing some 50 products it claimed were "improperly labeled," including ice cream and frozen yogurts. The following month, Ben and Jerry's agreed to phase out the phrase "all natural" from any ice creams or yogurts that had processed contents, according to the lawsuit.

The center went as far as to issue a press release, announcing Ben and Jerry's and Breyers new not-so-natural stance. But plaintiffs say the ice cream makers have continued to defraud consumers.

Knowing Ben and Jerry's, this court case could easily inspire the name of their next ice cream flavor: Nutty Misrepresentation Swirl. 

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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