Ben & Jerry's Gives Oregon's GMO Labeling Fight a Proper Ice Cream Name Makeover

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Popular ice cream maker, Ben & Jerry’s has taken a unique stance in Oregon’s fight to label genetically modified foods. The company has renamed its Fudge Brownie flavor "Food Fight Fudge Brownie" in order to draw attention to Measure 92, the GMO labeling ballot initiative that Oregon voters will decide on next month.

The temporary name change represents the food fight that’s been going on across the nation in attempts to mandate labeling of genetically modified ingredients. Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s home state, recently passed a GMO labeling law, slated to go into effect in 2016, if the biotech industry and big food’s lawsuit against the law don’t shut it down before it goes into effect.

Several other states have passed modified GMO labeling bills (Connecticut and Maine), and states including California and Washington, where ballot initiatives were heavily favored to pass, were shut down through scare tactics used by the anti-labeling big food and biotech camps.

GMO labeling proponents are very hopeful that the measure will pass in Oregon, and Jerry Greenfield, the co-founder of the Vermont ice cream maker, “is hoping to help sway the results of Oregon's ballot initiative that would require food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs,” reports Bloomberg. “Greenfield traveled to Portland last week to unveil ‘Food Fight Fudge Brownie,’ […] designed to draw attention to Measure 92.”

While the flavor is only going to be available in Oregon scoop shops, it’s an important effort in the campaign for Measure 92. It’s been twelve years since the last GMO labeling bill was rejected by Oregon voters, due in part to tricky campaigning by the food and ag industries. The groups never acknowledged the bill as a move toward GMO labeling, but rather, referred to it as a “costly food labeling bill.” This tactic was also used in both California and Washington recently, and succeeded in defeating the measure. But despite the anti-labeling campaign that says it would cost taxpayers hundreds of dollars each year, a Consumers Union report recently found that the average cost to consumers would amount to less than $3 per person per year.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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