Co-founder stops by Ben & Jerry’s
September 17, 2013
By Peter Clark
Jerry Greenfield, the titular co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, stopped by the Issaquah Highlands Sept. 13 to share his support for labeling genetically modified foods.
Hosted by State Sen. Mark Mullet, who owns a Ben & Jerry’s franchise on 10th Avenue Northeast, Greenfield showed up to lead an event bringing attention to state Initiative 552, which would mandate food producers to label genetically modified foods if passed on the November ballot.
“We’ve been in the area for a week, scooping out free Ben & Jerry’s and having a grand time,” Greenfield said. “Ben & Jerry’s is courting yes on I-552.”
He said Ben & Jerry’s has always used natural ingredients in their products. As a business and consumer practice, he said it just made sense.
“I think among normal people this is a very common sense idea,” he said. “They like the idea of having transparency in the food they eat.”
Mullet stood along side Greenfield as an outspoken supporter of the initiative.
“I support it,” Mullet said. “This is just trying to make people make more informed decisions. And if enough states start labeling it, then maybe it will all catch on.”
A legislative petition was passed earlier in the year. The House and the Senate decided not to act on it, leaving the choice up to the voters. Working in the Legislature, Mullet said he heard what the opposition had to say.
“I got both sides in Olympia,” he said. “Having lived in Europe for five years, I view this as a very soft thing. This is just letting customers make better choices.”
He gladly hosted Greenfield in the store, offering free ice cream, to jointly promote voting yes on Initiative 522.
Greenfield said he believed the initiative would echo the business model that Ben & Jerry’s tried to provide.
“Just the idea of being open and honest with your customer, that turns out to be a good thing,” he said.