Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of the Vermont-based ice cream company, spoke with reporters on a conference call Wednesday morning to discuss Ben & Jerry’s support of the initiative campaign in Washington.
The company is now in the process of eliminating genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, from all of its products, Greenfield said. He said he expects that process to be completed sometime in 2014.
After that process is complete, the company will also begin labeling its products as GMO-free, Greenfield said.
“The idea behind this is to support a consumer’s right to know,” Greenfield said. “The only way for consumers to know whats in their product is to have mandatory labeling.”
Ben & Jerry’s “scoop trucks” will be making appearances throughout Washington state to help educate voters about the GMO-labeling initiative, Greenfield said.
The company has no plans to donate funds directly to the I-522 campaign, said Chris Miller, Ben & Jerry’s social activism manager. But it will contribute outdoor advertising and ice cream.
Initiative 522 will appear on the November ballot in Washington state, and would require labeling of produce that is genetically modified. It would also require labeling of processed foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, if the GMOs make up more than 0.9 percent of the product.
Greenfield said that if his company can label its products and strip them of genetically modified ingredients, others can, too,
“We believe that every company should be proud to tell people what’s in their product,” Greenfield said.