URLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – Ben & Jerry's faces a lawsuit accusing the ice cream manufacturer and parent company of false advertising by saying that the milk and cream in the products come from "happy cows."
In a complaint filed Oct. 29 in federal court in Burlington, Vermont, where Ben & Jerry's was founded, environmental advocate James Ehlers said that many of the farms producing milk and cream are factory-style, mass-produced dairy and just some are part of the company's "Caring Dairy" -program.
"Contrary to what Unilever has told consumers, the products are made from a mixture of (1) milk coming from farms participating in the" Caring Dairy "program and (2) milk coming from factory-adapted cows, mass production milk business, "the complaint states.
Ben & Jerry's spokesman Sean Greenwood emailed on Friday that the company does not comment on pending lawsuits. He said the company is proud of the work done on Vermont's family farms, and believes its "Caring Dairy" program is the most progressive in the industry.
"We are committed to building a resilient, regenerative dairy supply," he wrote.
It includes building soil health through increased tire growth, alternative tillage practices, rotational crops and grazing techniques, according to the company's website about the voluntary program "Caring Dairy", which also says high quality animal care will provide higher quality milk.
The complaint from Ehlers, a former gubernatorial candidate, accuses Ben & Jerry's and Unilever of violating the Vermont Consumer Protection Act, breach of express warranty and unjust enrichment.
It states that Unilever has breached the trust of consumers who are at risk of "real and immediate threat of repeated damage, including the purchase of misleading branded and packaged products that are sold at prices above their true value."
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.