This week we celebrated National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.

Wow! I remember loving ice cream sandwiches! What’s not to love? The tender, chocolate or vanilla cake holding in place vanilla ice cream is delicious, memorable. Do you have a particular way of eating them? I would peel off the paper in a circular motion so as to keep some of the sandwich still encased in the wrapper as I first nibbled at the chocolate cake and then bit off pieces of the ice cream – licking the fast melting sides. I had it down to an art form. No doubt Freud would have something to say about this. For me, it was simply pure indulgence.

If you’ve been following my posts, you’ve probably noticed the common thread of being anti-commercial ice cream, even if it’s organic. Nearly every brand I pick up has a list of ingredients that looks nothing like the ice cream of yesteryear.

Often the first ingredient is milk, or worse, non-fat or skim milk, followed by a list of cheaper additives to make up for the lack of more costly cream. Even if we aren’t concerned these ingredients are not particularly healthful, I have to shake my head at the high price point and the general rip-off to the consumer.

Last week the Organic Consumers Association announced they had found trace amounts of glyphosate in 10 of 11 samples of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, with the highest level found in Chocolate Fudge Brownie.

All reported levels met “acceptable” standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Let’s let that last piece sink in. Should the EPA be the overseer of acceptable food-related pesticide levels?

Ben & Jerry’s spokesperson, Rob Michalak, as reported by New York Times columnist, Stephanie Strom, claims their ingredients come from supply chain sources which do not include genetically modified ingredients (GMO’s), but that they keep searching for the pesticide source.  Playing the devil’s advocate and believing Mr. Michalak, I would look to our nation’s ground water as a primary contaminant.  Nowhere in any associated reports have I found mention of testing water, relative to glyphosate levels, as an ingredient at any point in the ice cream making process.

Non-food uses for genetic modification can be useful, but genetic modification of food should come naturally through nature, not from science.  The fault with GMO crops is not with genetic modification on its own, but success with GMO crops depends on using “accessories,” such as glyphosate. To date, we have not been considering the accumulative effect of consuming GMO associated foods. We have been focused, as in this study, on isolated levels in isolated samples.

Some scientists say that the level of pesticides reported in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is inconsequential. Probably, if we eat one serving and never eat anymore, this is true. Indeed, scientists claim an adult would have to consume “290,000 servings a day” to hit EPA’s acceptable level of pesticides. Here’s the problem. Even after all of the processing that happens to our food, scientists still find trace amounts of pesticides in the end product. So let’s argue the trace amount in ice cream is insignificant. How many OTHER products do we eat or drink in the course of a day contain trace amounts of pesticides leading to an accumulative effect?

  • Research proposes glyphosate levels in ice cream is
  • Ben & Jerry’s is not the only ice cream with trace levels of glyphosate.
  • Organic is no guarantee of glyphosate-free.
  • “Main” ingredients are considered; not add-ins, such as peanut butter.
  • Food testing needs to consider the interaction of varying molecules. An example would be testing vanilla ice cream with peanut butter may have different results than testing vanilla with cherries due to different molecular interaction.
  • Science is sound, but currently incomplete and skewed. We need to look at accumulative levels over the course of a day and through a lifetime.

Monsanto has been effectual in keeping information confusing, even presently referring to outdated information. I have faith that technological advancement will allow in-depth testing of ALL of our food sources and to gain better, more accurate knowledge of what is in our food. The tides will turn. Consumers will hold food producers accountable to higher standards.

I mentioned 10 of 11 samples tested positive for glyphosate. The one holdout? Cherry Garcia!

Now that’s iconic irony for an ice cream named for a well-known “weed” consumer. Who says science doesn’t have a sense of humor?