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Ben & Jerry's GMO Food Fight

The ice cream maker’s support for GMO labeling clashes with parent Unilever’s opposition

Photograph by Elizabeth Renstrom for Bloomberg Businessweek

In early May, Unilever Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman paid a visit to the headquarters of its subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s in South Burlington, Vt., meeting with about 100 employees to share his views on deforestation, farming, and food made with ingredients from genetically modified organisms. That night, Polman had dinner and ice cream with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim. Two days later, with Solheim at his side, Shumlin signed the nation’s first law requiring labeling of foods made with GMO ingredients.