Earlier this month, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) filed a lawsuit against Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever alleging deceptive labeling and marketing of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products in violation of the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The OCA claims that Unilever’s marketing for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream -- including packaging that states that the ingredients include cream and milk from “happy cows” and shows “green fields, blue skies, and cartoon[s] … of happy animals” -- leads consumers to believe that the ice cream is made with diary from cows that are raised used practices that are more “humane than those used on regular factory-style, mass-production dairy operations.” However, alleges the OCA, at least some of the diary used comes from cows raised in typical factory-style operations that confine cows and employee “extensive antibiotic use.”

Additionally, alleges the OCA, Ben & Jerry’s marketing makes various claims that its products are environmentally responsible, including stating that Ben & Jerry's “promot[es] business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment” and has “high standards for environmental practices.” The OCA claims that third-party testing has shown, however, that various Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products contain trace amounts of the pesticide glyphosate, which according to the complaint, is “considered by consumers to be environmentally harmful.”

Ben & Jerry’s has not yet responded to the complaint.