Public Interest Groups File Deceptive Advertising Complaint Against Ben And Jerry's

Public Interest Groups File Deceptive Advertising Complaint Against Ben And Jerry's

December 15, 1999

Washington, DC, December 16, 1999 – Citizens for the Integrity of Science and the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission today, accusing ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s of misleading advertising. The complaint focuses on Ben & Jerry’s advertising campaign for its new unbleached packaging, which touts the dioxin-free manner of its production.

"Ben and Jerry’s highlights its new packaging as being manufactured by dioxin-free methods, and claims that there is no safe level of exposure to dioxin. But the company doesn’t tell consumers that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream itself has dioxin," stated CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman. " Since most Ben & Jerry’s customers buy these products for the ice cream rather than for the package, this is a serious omission in their advertising."

At the press conference to announce the complaint, Kazman emphasized that advertising law clearly supports the complaint. "This is an obvious case of deception by omission, a form of misleading advertising that both the courts and the FTC have repeatedly recognized."

Also present were dioxin expert Dr. Michael Gough and Steven Milloy, founder of the Junkscience.com web site. Their organization, Citizens for the Integrity of Science, recently unveiled lab test results on the dioxin content of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

"We presented Ben and Jerry’s with the findings of our testing a month ago," commented Milloy. "They have made no attempt to counter the findings – they’ve only attacked Dr. Gough and myself personally."

Both organizations view Ben and Jerry’s ice cream as being perfectly safe from the standpoint of health and offered samples of World’s Best Vanilla, Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and New York Super Fudge Chunk to emphasize that point.

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, please contact Emily McGee, director of media relations, at 202-331-1010, ext. 209.