Ben & Jerry’s falsely labels its ice cream products as “all natural,” even though they contain alkalized cocoa — a non-natural processed ingredient that contains synthetic potassium carbonate, according to a class action lawsuit filed Northern California.
Since its inception in 1978, Ben & Jerry’s has built its brand on the basis that it’s an eco-friendly, socially conscious company that uses only all-natural ingredients. As a result, consumers are willing to pay a premium price for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream over other ice cream brands. A complaint filed with the FDA by the Center for Science in the Public Interest this year, however, found that 36 of Ben & Jerry’s ice creams, frozen yogurts and popsicles that claim to be “all natural” contain alkalized cocoa, including its most popular flavors: Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, Phish Food and Half Baked.
“Over the past 30 years, Ben & Jerry’s has cultivated and reinforced a corporate image that has catered to this ‘all natural’ theme and have boldly emblazed this moniker on each and every one of its ice cream products, despite the fact it uses a synthetic ingredient in the form of alkalized cocoa,” says the class action lawsuit.
Ben & Jerry’s could have used natural cocoa, the lawsuit continues, but chose to use cocoa that is treated with an alkalizing agent, when changes the chemical structure, taste and appearance of cocoa.
The Ben & Jerry’s class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of all California consumers who purchased Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products that were falsely labeled “all natural” on or after September 28, 2006. It is seeking class certification and refunds to all class members who purchased falsely labeled Ben & Jerry’s products. It is also asking that Ben & Jerry’s stop its misleading advertising.
For a full list of the 36 Ben & Jerry’s flavors that contain alkalized cocoa, see the Ben & Jerry’s class action lawsuit document.
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