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Ben and Jerry's works to get rid of GMOs - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Ben and Jerry's works to get rid of GMOs

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - Christopher Miller might be the activist at Ben and Jerry's, but he's happy to join a food scientist and chef when they're running some tests on the product. They're tasting a popular ice cream that's going through a big change.

"It will go from Coffee and Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch to Coffee Toffee Crunch and Vanilla Toffee Crunch," said Miller, the social mission activism manager.

Ben and Jerry's is changing the name to comply with the company's non-GMO and fair trade policy. The company has 50 flavors which include 150 ingredients. By the end of the year, none of them will have genetically modified ingredients.

Right now, Miller says, the company is half way through the transition.

"The bits and pieces that we're chasing after are really the bits and pieces in the chunks and swirls," Miller said.

They are replacing things like soy in a cocoa chip or cornstarch on the cookie dough, which he says are GMOs. They're also changing the packaging.

Some companies have claimed adding GMO labeling will be too expensive. Miller doesn't buy it.

"Food companies make changes to packaging all the time," he said.

He says just take Cherry Garcia. What you saw on the shelves in the 1990s doesn't look the same as today. What's on the shelves is also evolving. When you go to a grocery store, experts say about 70 percent of the food you see is genetically modified. You can't often tell though.

Some crops are genetically modified for disease and pest resistance and those crops end up in your food.

"Because it's those big four: corn, soy, wheat and anything with vegetable oils. If you start looking at your ingredients list on your packaged and processed foods, you'll see almost everything has a derivative of corn or vegetable oil in it," said Nicole Driscoll of Healthy Living.

Driscoll is around food all day at Healthy Living. She says while you won't find any products marked GMO yet, some products are marked non-GMO.

"There is a third party certification out there right now called the Non-GMO Project," Driscoll explained. "And some companies are paying to be certified just as they would be to be certified USDA organic."

Most are not. Even with threats of a lawsuit by food companies, Driscoll doesn't think prices will go up for shoppers or that companies will boycott Vermont.

Some people in the food industry say GMOs aren't bad. They say the technology boosts food production and is less environmentally harmful. And a trade group that representing companies like Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences says your grocery bill could go up $400 per year due to the mandatory labeling just signed into law.

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Vermont governor signs GMO labeling bill
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