Ben & Jerry’s Behind “Cyclone Dairy”

Last week I blogged about a probably-spoof website for something called Cyclone Dairy, a dairy supposedly guaranteeing that 100% of their milk is from cloned cattle.

Well, appropriately enough icecream makers Ben & Jerry have chosen today (April first) to reveal that they’re behind the shenanigans.

Here’s their press release: Ben & Jerry’s Lifts the Lid on April Fool’s Day Cloning Stunt.

Today, Ben & Jerry’s lifted the lid on an April Fool’s Day event aimed at raising consumer awareness of the government’s recent approval of cloned milk and meat within the human food supply chain. In late-March Ben & Jerry’s went undercover through the launch of Cyclone Dairy, a fictitious dairy company marketing milk made from 100% cloned cows, to gauge consumer reaction surrounding this issue. The make-believe company was launched via the Web site and street sampling initiatives in Manhattan, with support from the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit public interest organization based in Washington, D.C….

The press release goes on to advocate the creation of a “national clone tracking system” for the benefit of consumers who want to be able to choose whether or not to consume products from cloned animals.

It’s a bad idea. A national system would be costly, and those costs would be borne either by taxpayers or by consumers (perhaps via fees charged to food companies, which they would inevitably pass along to consumers.) All that to track a product already believed to be safe. Why make all consumers (or taxpayers) pay more for something that only some are concerned about?

The reason, according the Ben & Jerry’s press release: “Americans should have the basic right to choose the foods they want to eat.” Is there such a right? Well, yes and no. You have the right to decide what you put in your mouth; but that doesn’t imply a right to be provided all the information you could ever want about that food. (See my blog entry here for the basics of my argument against there being a right to know if your food is genetically modified. I think the same argument applies to cloned food.)

3 comments so far

  1. hartwomen on

    You are telling us, dear friend. Did you tell it to *them?*

  2. Chris MacDonald on

    Yes, in fact I did tell them…I emailed both their PR company (who emailed me to point me to the press release) and the company’s main communications guy. Chris.

  3. plasticsyntax on

    I don’t really have a problem with cloned meat or dairy from cloned meat (we already eat cloned food – they’re called bananas). I also agree that a lot of the concerns about GM foods are overblown; I don’t subscribe to the idea that natural necessarily means better. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t valid objections to GM food, such as cross-pollination or introducing allergenic traits. You argue that farmers or food producers shouldn’t have to track GM foods and that it would put an additional burden on them if they were legally obligated to do so. This is completely at odds with the fact that GM producers aggressively assert their IP rights on their seeds and this places a burden on farmers to ensure their non-GM crops are not contaminated with patented GM seed stock or cross-pollinated. As far as I am concerned, the burden is there either way.

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