Ben & Jerry's "All Natural" concept is half-baked
August 12th, 2010
02:00 PM ET
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Our two ol' pals, Ben and Jerry, might be fudging the truth - our Chubby Hubby has had a little work done.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit watchdog group, says Ben & Jerry’s falsely labels some of its ice creams and frozen yogurts as “All Natural" - when in reality, at least 48 out of 53 flavors of the purported “All Natural” product line contain dextrose, alkalized cocoa, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils or other artificial flavors and chemically modified ingredients.

Today, the CSPI announced it will take these concerns to the dairy kings of the Food and Drug Administration and state attorneys general unless the Vermont-based scoop shop, now part of Unilever's brand portfolio, drops the au naturel claim.

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Filed under: Food Politics • News

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. 5

    Haagen dazs 5. Only 5 ingredients, natural and good.

    September 24, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
  2. Greg Johnson

    There aren't too many brands of ice cream that I can eat. Checking the ingredients is truly the way to go. Sadly, high fructose corn syrup qualifies as 'all natural' even though it is so highly processed to remove any of the beneficial (if any) qualities of its components. Yes, corn syrup and fructose are from natural sources.

    Is ice cream healthy food? It certainly doesn't top the list.

    The problem with processed food – natural or otherwise – is that it has been modified to remove the natural 'checks and balances' that make food healthy and edible. Did we have a lactose intolerance problem prior to the innovation of 1% and 2% milk? It was certainly not as prevalent. Pasteurizing, homogenizing, de-fatting and powdering, and recombining to lower the fat content causes all sorts of issues. The good bacteria is killed along with the bad. The natural enzyme that makes lactose tolerable – lactase – is destroyed. Removing the fat causes both the protein and carbohydrate portions to be more prevalent. Lactose is milk sugar – carbohydrate – that has now taken a larger role in the composition of milk. Is 1% milk even able to be considered as natural anymore?

    September 10, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  3. Lee Gardner

    I long for a return of Dastardly Mash, the best B&J flavor ever, natural or not.

    September 4, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
  4. Mark

    Natural schmatural! It has nothing at all to do with how healthy food is. " People like me go out of our way to look for foods that are free of chemicals and unnatural ingredients...", and you eat ice cream? Really? They list the ingredients right there on the package. Is it too much trouble to read, or do people actually take seriously the claims made on the front of the package?
    Just because something is a "chemical" doesn't mean it's harmful, and just because something's "natural" doesn't make it safe, or healthy. A little research and education will go a long way toward calming peoples fears about food. It's not difficult to find healthy food.

    And by the way, Breyer's is really the most natural ice cream available where I live. Always read the ingredients, and nutritional labels when you shop.

    August 18, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  5. Esther

    The point is a food should not be allowed to call itself all natural if the ingredients are not all natural. People like me go out of our way to look for foods that are free of chemicals and unnatural ingredients so what right does a company have to make this claim if it is not true?

    Whether the FDA will do anything- considering all the chemicals it has snuck and allowed into our food system that are now making us sick- is a completely different story.

    August 13, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
    • For real?

      Read the ingredient list.

      Going out of your way is NOT just looking for "All Natural" on the front.

      September 25, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  6. LittleLizzy

    How dissappointing! I try to avoid food with artificial additives entirely. I don't eat ice cream often, but when I do I like to have some options. I guess Haagen Daz is the only widely-distributed option available for "health nuts" like me. Very sad.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:21 am |
    • John

      Actually, I think Haagen Dazs uses corn syrup in some of their ice creams, too...
      It's best to just make your own homemade ice cream.

      August 13, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    There is very little of, any packaged food, that is all natural.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  8. Matt

    When are they going to do the same thing to 7UP. They quote "all natural" but the first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:11 am |
    • Leo

      High fructose corn syrup IS natural, genius. It's NOT HEALTHY, but it IS natural.

      August 13, 2010 at 11:57 am |
      • Conrad

        Sorry to disagree. HIGH Fructose Corn Syrup does NOT occur naturally.The propoertion of fructose to glucose in raw corn is different from the commercial sweetener.

        September 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
      • Mark

        The enzymes that make corn syrup into HFCS do occur naturally and depending on how the HFCS is made, it can be labeled as natural.

        September 27, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  9. Dr Bill Toth

    Labels are like a bikini – what they reveal is marvelous and what they cover up is crucial.
    Live with Intention,

    August 13, 2010 at 6:54 am |
  10. Catrain

    Noone really thinks ice cream is a healthy food natural or otherwise...right?

    August 12, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
  11. lewax00

    I don't think many people eat Ben & Jerry's because it claims to be all natural. They eat it because its delicious!

    August 12, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
    • Balls


      August 12, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
  12. Sam Meyer

    Everything's natural, if you go back far enough.

    August 12, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  13. Callyberry

    and all the FDA can do, is a slap on the wrist, a "please don't do that again", and suggest to them that they change their labels,

    August 12, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • Mark

      Not true, the FDA can ask them to recall (100% of food companies do recall when asked because of PR fears) or decide to seize the product as adulterated.

      September 27, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
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