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Dirty Dairy: Why Consumers Need to Force Ben and Jerry's to Go Organic


Dirty Dairy: Why Consumers Need to Force Ben and Jerry's to Go Organic

Ronnie Cummins

The Vermont brand has been built on a bucolic image of cows grazing on endless pastures . . . Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and other Vermont companies have used this idyllic imagery to sell their products. Gone are the days, however, when most of Vermont’s cows were grazing in spectacularly scenic landscapes. Now a majority of Vermont’s cows are locked up in . . . ‘confined animal feeding operations’ or CAFOs . . . grazing on concrete with a diet rich in GMO corn and pesticides.


Is the pus organic too?


I’ll take soy or coconut, thanks.
No forced impregnations, no dead cow babies, better climate.


This article is practically a poster-child of the feel-good-consumption-activism that is sooo typical of the affluent liberal tendency of the left…

Don’t they realize that there are a whole lot more important outrages and atrocities going on right now than non-organic high-end ice cream?

What next? Indignant demands for organic double-cream brie and baguettes?

Fuck the Ben-and-Jerry eating, Whole-foods-going, Nissan LEAF (never the bus) driving, $1M house in the fashionable leafy East-End-liberals!


Actually, the carbon footprint of that coconut milk coming way up from the tropics is probably higher than the milk from a local dairy. I’m not much of a milk drinker but never understood this way denigrating milk (drank in various forms by poor people around the world) is so fashionable by the bourgeois liberals.


It’s worth mentioning here that lactose intolerance is quite common in many African and Asian communities, because those regions have no tradition of drinking other animals’ milk. On the other hand, lots of poor Chinese eat food I wouldn’t touch. Maybe it makes more sense to decide what you’re going to eat on your own without trying to label it as “bourgeois” or not?

“Local” dairies are a nice image, but the dairy industry produces something like 85% of American milk. Considering there’s no milk without baby cows, I doubt they have a higher carbon footprint than coconuts or soy.


Yes, that is why Africans ferment their milk into sour maas, kefir and the like - it breaks down the lactose. The first think Nelson Mandala wanted when he was released from prison was a big glass of maas.


The ‘Natural’ label is a red flag, only used when the product is full of crap.
With the corporate assault on the organic label, it will not be long before ‘USDA Organic’ is worthless. It has become a full time job to find food worth eating.


None is so blind as those who won’t see. Go Vegan.



Like $5+ a pint ice cream matters.

besides, Ben & Jerry’s isn’t the cute little hippy company it started out as. It’s part of Unilever, a huge multinational conglomerate.

Ben and Jerry themselves don’t give a damn.


The ever-increasing use of glyphosate (“Roundup”) along with the patented GMO seeds used with it are certainly problematic from an agricultural sustainability and seed monopolization standpoint - the rise of resistant super-weeds being the most worrisome problem.

But, I don’t dare bring up the broad scientific consensus regarding the human health safety of glyphosate, or GMO’s for that matter, around here. The bourgeois left accepts the scientific consensus on global warming - but little else.


We are NOT “CONSUMERS”! The “its” corporations areTHE consumers. These “its” are “consuming” so fast that multiple Earths are needed to keep up! As for ice-cream, just buy organic or make yer own. If yer poor, poor, poor, poor, like me, and need to must-now get off of the poisoned produce, canned and frozen gmo crap - grains, industrial meats and fish-farm crap - figure it out! But DON"T EAT FROM THE DAMN SUPERMARKETS! If you can’t find a food co-op or Community Supported Agrioculture organization - AND CANNOT MOVE to a place that has these non-gmo foods - you’re screwed - AND THAT MUST BE HOLLERED ABOUT LOUDLY! We the People are not damn “consumers”. We are still customers, if We say so. And we are human beings that demand respect!


“Compare the Ben & Jerry’s test results with the results of our testing of organic brands, brands that use organic milk from farms that are actually making the world a better place.”

Just a guess, but assume “organic” (whatever the definition of that is these days) ice cream costs more and people are buying Ben & Jerry for the price. Should Ben & Jerry start making organic ice cream it would probably cost the same.


And this, there is more and more evidence for reason not to use toxic chemicals. Residential home use is a large contributor to this problem.


Actually, you have to be careful with soy too. It should be fermented and it is hard to avoid gmo soy. I remember drinking raw milk from a small dairy, I don’t need I laboratory I remember the taste. The cows were in pasture all the time with some hay when needed. Also, goat milk in small quantities is good.


Well, OK, it’s true: Ben and Jerry’s should quit poisoning people too.

And it is good to see the concern among those who post about carbon footprint and food miles and energy accounting. By the looks of it, however, a lot of us are still sniping at each other over things that a bit of attention to the research and practice could potentially settle.

Some basic practical observations that ought to guide this:

  • Non-local food is inherently energy expensive, polluting
  • Non-local food is also usually at least a bit toxic, at the low end because of treatments related to storage and travel
  • Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics, hormone treatments, and chemical fertilizers are all energy expensive, toxic (with varying lethality to humans) and destructive of habitat, including human habitat
  • Monocultures (lots of the same crop together) generate disease and pests
  • Feedlots (lots of the same animals together) generate disease and often human infesting viral and microbial parasites
  • Monocultures and feedlots require input from external sources for support. These are almost but not always chemical and toxic; they are always energy expensive and destructive of habitat.
  • Consumers cannot cross-check non-local food or farming practices
  • In the US, at least, government regulation is failing more dramatically as voters lose electoral control and options
  • Unenforced regulations will continue to be broadly violated when profitable

That means that any authentic solution will involve local food, organic or near-organic, starting more or less at the front door in urban and suburban as well as rural areas.

Animals are not intrinsically polluting as long as their increase and production are cycled back into a system with plants and fungi. This is true regardless of which predator or parasite or plant eats the animal. The economics are easier if some humans eat some animal products sometimes, but where humans prefer to not do that, other means of recycling the animals’ faeces and bodies can be found. It is just a bit more work and means that a wider spread need be used per human (but either way is less energy-expensive, less destructive of habitat, more healthy than current feed-lot practice).

People tend to imagine that this is “impractical” because it eventually does involve some withdrawal of some persons from what is called “the global economy.” But that economy is itself impractical. It is the cause of the problems we are trying to address here, so withdrawing from it is both key and basic. And that withdrawal can be done a bit at a time; in fact, it is generally by far the easier thing to do so if one starts early.

Is it still early? That I do not know.