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Ben & Jerry’s has removed claims from its packaging that its ice-cream comes from ‘happy cows’.

The move has been branded a ‘victory for consumers and an indication that Ben & Jerry’s can’t back up those claims’ by non-profit organization the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), which sued the company in 2018 for ‘the deceptive labeling, marketing, and sale of its ice cream’.

The OCA’s suit said that despite Ben & Jerry’s ‘representations of humane sourcing and environmental responsibility’, the ingredients are ‘sourced from typical factory farms and some of the products contain traces of glyphosate, an environmentally harmful biocide’.

Motion to dismiss

This month, the District of Columbia Superior Court rejected Ben & Jerry’s motion to dismiss OCA’s lawsuit, in which the Unilever-owned company revealed it is removing the ‘happy cows’ statement from its packaging.

The motion added that Ben & Jerry’s never claimed to exclusively source its ingredients from ‘happy cows’ – and that as happiness is opinion, it cannot be measured objectively, branding the term ‘non-actionable puffery’.

A spokesman told McClatchy News: “While we haven’t done an official survey of our cows’ happiness, we’re proud of the work we’ve done with Vermont’s family farmers over the past 35 years, and we believe our Caring Dairy program is the most progressive in the industry.

“We’re committed to building a resilient, regenerative dairy supply that benefits animals, people, and the planet.”

Ongoing litigation

“The removal of misleading ‘happy cow’ claims is a victory for consumers and an indication that Ben & Jerry’s can’t back up those claims,” said OCA International Director Ronnie Cummins. 

“But this is just one small step toward more honest representation of the Ben & Jerry’s brand. 

“OCA will continue, through our own ongoing litigation against Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company, Unilever, to push for Ben & Jerry’s either to live up to its remaining marketing claims, or to remove all claims that have no basis in fact.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.