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Blue Bunny Doesn’t Want To Talk About Ingredients

[See the update below for the latest on this story]

It’s taken me far too long but I’m finally “awake.” I was just like most average folks out there who believed that the food that lined supermarket shelves was safe to eat. A lot has happened in the food industry over the last decade or three and now that I’m beginning to understand exactly what it is that has been going on, I’m much more careful about the choices I make at the supermarket.

I’ve sworn off harmful food ingredients such as corn syrup, especially “high fructose corn syrup” and have cut down on my sugar intake. I’m also avoiding genetically-modified food, commonly referred to as GMO. I’m tired of being a human lab rat for the food industry and am doing all I can to avoid the potentially harmful ingredients that are being used to produce our food these days.

That brings me to “Blue Bunny” ice cream. Since I avoid dairy products that were produced using rGBH or “bovine recombinant growth hormone,” and various antibiotics used by diary farmers (especially the big factory farms) it’s challenging – if not impossible – to find ice cream in the supermarket that is advertised as being free from those things like many brands of milk now are.

About three weekends ago we were shopping at a local supermarket for some ice cream. As I checked the labels on the various brands that were in stock I was finding the ingredients I expected to find such as corn syrup (including high-fructose corn syrup) and other unnatural ingredients such as Polysorbate 80 and artificial colors.

I started to read the labels on the various flavors of “Blue Bunny” brand ice cream and was surprised to learn that their “Premium All Natural Vanilla” was made with ingredients that appeared to be more traditional and lacked all the stuff I was avoiding. The ingredients were listed as follows:

Milk, Cream, Sugar, Skim Milk, Grade A Nonfat Dry Milk, Egg Yolks, Natural Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Beans.

Not bad, I thought to myself, and we bought a couple of containers of it. I used to be able to say “half-gallon” instead of “container” but since the industry has moved away from selling us a true half-gallon, I can’t use that term. The container is one cup short of a half-gallon but consumers pay as much or more than we used to for a true half-gallon.

The container did proudly bear the words “2 More Scoops,” but I guess that’s kind of like saying “we’re not ripping you off quite as much as we were before.” Gee, thanks. I feel so much better about getting gouged.

Anyway, after we got the ice cream home I started to wonder. Sure, the list of ingredients look pretty good especially since they made the extra effort to squeeze the word “natural” in there. But, I wondered, does “Blue Bunny” use milk and cream that is free of rGBH and antibiotics? Since this particular flavor is called “Premium All Natural Vanilla” (emphasis mine), it seemed like it should be free of those things. After all a “natural” cow isn’t out in the field shooting itself up with grown hormones and antibiotics!

I decided to go directly to the source. As most companies do these days, they listed their company website on the container and as you’ll find on most company websites, there was a “Contact Us” section so that consumers could share their thoughts and ask questions about their products.

I typed in my question about whether or not their products were made with dairy products that were free of rGBH and antibiotics and successfully submitted my query. I had hoped to receive a response via e-mail within a few days.

Well, it’s been more than three weeks and I have not heard a word from “Blue Bunny.” I’m not terribly surprised because I have submitted similar queries to other companies using their website and most of the time I never receive a reply.

Without an official response from the company, I can only assume that “Blue Bunny” does use dairy products that come from cows that are treated with rGBH and antibiotics. To be clear, I don’t know that for sure, but my choice is to play it safe and assume that stuff is in there, especially since the dairy producers that don’t use those things are quite anxious to boast about the lack of those things right on the label of the milk and cream that we use.

So thanks “Blue Bunny.” Your reluctance to answer a simple question about your products speaks volumes to me and we will not be purchasing your products unless we find out that your products are free of rGBH and antibiotics.

Here’s a little tip for those of you who might be making an effort to seek out foods that are not contaminated with various potentially harmful ingredients. The words “All Natural” or “Organic” on a package mean nothing. In most cases, it’s just word games that the food industry uses to trick consumers into believing that their products are wholesome, natural and made with ingredients that exclude all those nasty additives more and more people want to avoid. I’ll likely have more to say on that subject in the future.

If you want to find out what’s really going on in the food industry these days, I highly recommend checking out documentaries such as Farmageddon and Food, Inc.

Update: Thanks to a helpful reader, I now believe I have the answer to whether or not Blue Bunny uses dairy products that contain artificially-high levels of rGBH to produce their ice cream. The reader managed to get in touch with someone from “Blue Bunny Consumer Response.” The reader received an e-mail which outlined the company’s stance on the use of rGBH, or more accurately in this case, rBST, which is basically a different name for the same crap.

Without quoting the e-mail it its entirety, let me provide the gist of what the reader was told.

Firstly, the reader was told that Wells Enterprises (which is said to be the maker of the “Blue Bunny” brand of ice cream) is in compliance with all regulations where the manufacture of their products are concerned. I’m sure they are hoping that information will be comforting, but in my opinion it means virtually nothing considering all the crap that goes into the food supply with the blessing of all the regulatory agencies.

High-fructose corn syrup, anyone?

Secondly, Wells makes the case that rBST is something that cows “naturally produce,” which may be true, but not in the same concentration as when they are injected with more of it by the big factory dairy operations that raise the cows.

The Wells representative then spews forth pretty much what one would expect from a big corporation trying to protect its brand. They claim that “extensive study” by the FDA has shown that milk produced by cows that have been “treated” with rBST “retains the same nutritional value and composition as milk from untreated cows.” Wow, that says a lot, huh? It has the same nutritional value and is basically the same product (milk), but I guess most of us are more interested in what’s been added as opposed to any nutrients that have been removed or diminished.

Thirdly, it appears Wells simply doesn’t care or does not want to bother ensuring that their products are manufactured with milk that is free from artificial hormones because there exists no way to differentiate between milk from cows that are treated and those that are not. Would it not be a simple matter to get their raw ingredients from dairies that just don’t use artificial growth hormones?

They wrap up their case with a real doozy, by stating: “Considering there are no safety concerns with the consumption of milk and milk-related products from rBST–supplemented cows, Wells does not require our suppliers to supply us rBST-free ingredients for use in our products.”

Wow! How great it must be to know it all! Hear that, folks? There is “no safety concern!”

Case closed, send the kids back to the fridge for a frosty glass of milk infused with artificial growth hormones. What harm could it possibly do?

Wells Enterprises and the FDA have spoken! Nothing to see here! Move along now!


Comment from Jermo
Posted: May 31, 2012 at 2:19 am

Rise up American citizens! Your country is being taken from you – hold city, state, county, federal government and businesses accountable!

Comment from Al
Posted: January 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I live near one of their factory farms and when the wind is right I can smell the wonderful odors of country living. Well’s is notoriously unscrupulous in their support of right wing politicians and organizations. They like to come off with a squeaky clean image but they are little more than corporate bullies who’s smugness reaks as bad as their corporate farms. Bad people run Well’s Blue Bunny. I haven’t bought any of their products since the late nineties. Never will.

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