Ben & Jerry's announced this week it will phase out genetically modified ingredients from all of its ice cream flavors by 2014 in following with the nationwide trend of better labeling food products.
Genetically modified foods are engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides, but have been a source of controversy recently. Farmers and supporters say GMO plants yield better crops and increase food supply, but critics argue that the chemicals lead to long-term health problems and ruin the environment.
As of now, 80 percent of Ben & Jerry's ingredients are non-GMO. The Vermont-based ice cream maker said it plans to phase out the remaining 20 percent over the next year.
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"We have a long history of siding with consumers
and their right to know what's in their food," the company said in a statement on its website. "We commit to sourcing non-GMO ingredients for all our products everywhere by year-end 2013… We will track our progress as we complete this conversion, with public updates on this site. Beginning now, and throughout 2013, we will transition packaging so that all Ben & Jerry's products will be labeled with respect to GMO by the end of 2014. We thank and encourage all those who are continuing this fight in support of transparency and the consumer's right to know."
Ben & Jerry's announcement comes less than a year after California voters struck down Proposition 37, which would have required the state to label all GMO foods. Ben & Jerry's parent company, Unilever, donated almost half a million dollars
to defeat the measure, according to Underground Health.
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Unilever joined forces with the likes of Monsanto, Kraft, The Hershey Company, and PepsiCo, spending $44 million between them all to defeat the proposition.
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