Burlington, VT – A superior court judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing Ben & Jerry’s of lying to customers about its devotion to humane farming and saving the environment.
It’s the latest form of alleged deception exhibited by the ice cream maker – the company has long been the subject of boycott by Blue Lives Matter due to it’s misinformation campaign accusing law enforcement of widespread systemic and institutionalized racism.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), the ice cream company’s product labels claim that the cream and milk is sourced from “happy cows” that are raised in places with “green fields [and] blue skies,” Vermont Public Radio reported.
The company also boasts its “caring dairy” program, which pays more money to farmers who meet higher standards of fair labor practices, environmental protection, and animal care, but less than 25 percent of the company’s sources actually participate in the program.
Over 75 percent of the cream and milk Ben & Jerry’s uses comes from conventional dairy farms, where cattle are confined inside stalls and do not have the opportunity to be outside, Regeneration Vermont organizer Michael Colby told Vermont Public Radio.
According to the lawsuit, traces of herbicide has been found in some of the ice cream company’s products, and some of the farms that supply ingredients to the company also allegedly pollute nearby lakes.
“They’re making all kinds of false claims and all kinds of money – $800 million last year – while they’re leaving the damage for Vermonters to clean up the water, for the cows to be unhealthy and for the consumers to be threatened by what’s really in their products and how they’re really farming,” Colby told Vermont Public Radio.
Washington, D.C. Superior Court Associate Judge Neal Kravitz denied Ben & Jerry’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit last week.
Kravitz determined that the suit “alleges facts sufficient to advance a plausible claim that consumers would be misled by Ben & Jerry’s labeling and marketing,” Vermont Public Radio reported.
“Given the strength of this ruling, it should put a little fear in Ben & Jerry’s and their corporate owner, Unilever,” Colby said. “They really have two choices: they can negotiate with us to do the right thing without having to go further legally. Or based on this ruling, they really are facing a legal defeat which will really force them to stop making false claims.”
Blue Lives Matter first called on Americans to boycott Ben & Jerry’s in 2016, after the ice cream maker announced their support of Black Lives Matter and accused law enforcement of widespread systemic and institutionalized racism.
Many companies have offered statements of support for Black Lives Matter in the past, with the false belief that they are a civil rights organization.
Blue Lives Matter Editor-in-Chief Christopher Berg wrote at the time, "Most people have their own personal beliefs about what Black Lives Matter means to them. They think that their personal definition for Black Lives Matter is what the organized BLM groups stand for; this is not the case. While we believe that other companies were misguided, Ben & Jerry's campaign is dangerous."
"Ben & Jerry's went beyond making a statement in support of civil rights when they actively accused law enforcement of widespread racism" he noted. "By spreading these false and misleading statements, Ben & Jerry's lends an appearance of legitimacy to the baseless claims that police officers are killing men based on the color of their skin."
"This message has inspired the assassination and attempted assassination of police officers, and it costs officers their lives," he concluded.