May 20, 2020
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Judge dismisses ‘happy cow’ lawsuit against Ben & Jerry’s

Courtesy of Ben & Jerry's via AP
Courtesy of Ben & Jerry's via AP
This photo provided by Ben & Jerry's shows the company's low-calorie chocolate milk and cookies ice cream.

BURLINGTON, Vermont — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Ben & Jerry’s that alleged that the ice cream maker and its parent company misled consumers by saying the milk and cream in its products comes from “happy cows.”

In a complaint filed Oct. 29, 2019, in Burlington, Vermont, where Ben & Jerry’s was founded, environmental advocate James Ehlers said that many of the farms that produce the milk and cream are factory-style, mass production dairy operations and only some are part of the company’s “Caring Dairy” program.

U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss on Thursday threw out the lawsuit, saying Ben & Jerry’s, owned by the multinational firm Unilever, did not claim that all its milk comes from farms enrolled in Caring Dairy, Vermont Public Radio reports.

She also noted that Ben & Jerry’s no longer uses the “happy” cow label on its ice cream cartons.

“As a result, any possibility of future deception of plaintiff in a similar way to the harm alleged … is non-existent,” she wrote.

Ehlers said he’s considering amending his lawsuit. Ben & Jerry’s spokesperson Laura Peterson said in a statement that the court was right to dismiss the “meritless” claims.

 


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