Ben & Jerry's says it will agree to disagree with parent company Unilever over a genetically modified ice cream ingredient for which Unilever is seeking British regulatory approval. The ingredient, offered by a major European ingredient company is genetically modified using material derived from deep sea fish that functions as an antifreeze. It is intended to mimic the ultra-low temperature extrusion technology used to create many of the "churned" products that have reached the marketplace.
A spokesperson for Ben & Jerry's told a British publication "We would not dream of including anything like that in our products. One of the biggest problems is that we are affected by Unilever's actions even though they have nothing to do with the way that we behave. The fact that we are not using this GM ingredient shows that we are not following all of their decisions."
Unilever has gotten GRAS approval in the U.S., and describes the ingredient as an "exciting new technology that has potential benefits for ice cream, including the possibility of increased fruit content and lower fat content.".
It has not discussed the details of its application, but said, "We believe that it will provide some real consumer benefit but we have to go through the approval system, so we'll have to wait and see."
Newsline: Ben & Jerry's Avoids New GM Ingredient
August 1, 2006