BURLINGTON, Vt. — Ben & Jerry’s intends to add cannabidiol (CBD)-infused ice cream to its portfolio once the ingredient becomes legal at the federal level, Matthew McCarthy, the company’s CEO, said May 30.
Whether the ice cream company proceeds with this initiative may depend on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA's) hearing May 31 regarding CBD—the nonpsychoactive component of cannabis—in food and beverages. The goal of the hearing is to gather information on the safety and challenges of working with products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds. This will be the first regulatory discussion of CBD since the 2018 Farm Bill made growing industrial hemp, a key source for CBD, legal.
If given the thumbs-up, Ben & Jerry’s will use sustainably sourced CBD from Vermont, upholding its mission to use high-quality, sustainable ingredients in its products.
"We're doing this for our fans," McCarthy said. "We've listened and brought them everything from nondairy indulgences to on-the-go portions with our Pint Slices. We aspire to love our fans more than they love us, and we want to give them what they're looking for in a fun, Ben & Jerry's way."
Ben & Jerry’s has offered consumers the opportunity to sign up online for updated information regarding its progress toward using CBD. The company also encourages consumers to contact the FDA during its open comment window regarding CBD use in food through July 2.
Burlington, Vt.-based Ben & Jerry’s, a subsidiary of Rotterdam, Netherlands-based consumer goods company Unilever, makes ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet. Its top flavors include Half Baked, Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Chip Brownie. The company supports a variety of social issues, such as racial justice, democracy, GMO labeling, LGBTQ equality and fair trade.