Ben and Jerry’s Amend Labeling Following Lawsuit


Ben and Jerry’s is deleting a “happy cows” claim on all packaging.  This action follows a decision by the District of Columbia Superior Court to reject a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Organic Consumers Association in July 2018.  Ben and Jerry’s claimed that milk for their ice cream was from “happy cows” participating in a Caring Dairy program with high standards of welfare and environmental compliance.  In fact, only a proportion of milk used to prepare the iconic brand was derived under the program. The remainder was purchased from conventional commercial sources constituting the potential of misrepresentation in packaging.

The company finessed the change mandated by the lawsuit as a redesign of packaging to comply with FDA nutrition facts labeling.

It is obvious that organizations opposed to intensive livestock production including eggs will be constantly monitoring packaging.  Depictions of hens on pasture on packs of “cage-free” flocks confined to barns will come under scrutiny since they are misleading.  The situation could be improved if the industry would adopt a standard nomenclature for housing systems, possibly then to be approved by USDA-AMS to ensure a level playing field for all producers.