Ben & Jerry’s is making moves to cut a controversial weed killer from their popular line of ice cream.
The company recently announced that it will remove any ingredients containing glyphosate from its upcoming organic line by no later than 2020.
Earlier this year, an advocacy group tested about a dozen samples of the company’s products and found that only one did not contain traces of the chemical. The findings set off a firestorm of criticism that the company was falsely advertising that its products are “natural.”
Monsanto introduced glyphosate, the main ingredient in RoundUp, in 1974. Since then it has become the most widely used herbicide in the world. The company sells glyphosate products in unison with seeds engineered to resist the chemical.
Scrutiny over the potential health effects of glyphosate have been intensifying in recent years, and were partially fueled by a World Health Organization report that deemed the chemical a “probable carcinogen” (although that only applies to when when its used by agricultural workers).
Although major regulatory bodies in the US and EU continue to vouch for its safety, the public pushback against the presence of glyphosate in food is mounting. Last year, Quaker Oats was sued over trace amounts of glyphosate in its “100% Natural” products.
A group of farmers have also brought a class action lawsuit against Monsanto, alleging that glyphosate gave them cancer.
Monsanto has remained steadfast in its dispute that there’s a link between glyphosate and cancer. Scientists who’ve closely examined the studies that found glyphosate in food have also pointed out that the trace amounts were unlikely to pose any risk to human health.
But a spokeswoman for Ben & Jerry’s told The Guardian, “Simply saying trace levels are in everything is not a strategy…By no later than 2020, we will stop sourcing [ingredients] made with crops chemically dried using glyphosate. In addition, we intend to advocate for policies that would end use of glyphosate as a chemical drying agent.”