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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream to back I-522

One of the founders of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream said today his Vermont-based company will back a Washington initiative to require all foods to be labeled if they contain genetically modified ingredients.

Jerry Greenfield said Wednesday the company would give away "tons" of ice cream, send its "Scoop Truck" to Seattle and put up billboards in support of Initiative 522. The company's web site said the truck was scheduled to be in Seattle from mid August to mid September promoting its Greek frozen yogurt.

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Greenfield also plans to come to the state in September to campaign.

During a telephonic press conference arranged by the I-522 campaign, Greenfield said his company is moving away from genetically modified ingredients and he expects all of their ice cream products to be 100 percent free of genetically modified ingredients by 2014. It will start labelling its products as non-GMO at that time.

That might be a market advantage for people concerned about genetically modified ingredients, he said, but he couldn't say if those food products were unhealthy. Labelling the products just gives consumers "a fundamental right to know.

Although some opponents of I-522 say it would be too expensive or complicated to locate and verify all the ingredients in their products, Ben & Jerry's hasn't found that to be true, he said.

"This can be done. It won't materially affect the company's profit margins," he said.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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