I grew up eating Breyer’s ice cream. I’m fairly certain I didn’t know you could even buy any other brand of ice cream when I was little. I rarely buy it now, opting for ice cream made with ingredients I feel better about. An announcement from Unilever, the company that owns Breyer’s, has me considering putting it back into my shopping cart.

Breyer’s is switching to milk and cream made without artificial growth hormones. Cows are often given Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (rBST), a synthetic hormone that increases milk production. It’s believed that the hormones given to the cows end up in the milk, and that these hormones are affecting the health of those who consume the milk. Several dairy brands have already phased out rBST milk in products. In 2009, both Yoplait and Dannon yogurts went hormone free. Cabot Creamery only sources dairy from farmers who pledge not to use hormones. 

In addition to sourcing non-rBST milk, Breyer’s will also source its vanilla only from Rainforest Alliance Certified sources in Madagascar. The Rainforest Alliance sets high standards that promote sustainability both of the environment and the lives of farmers and their communities.

Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s also uses hormone-free milk and many fair trade ingredients. The company plans to have other brands like Fruttare, Good Humor, Klondike, Magnum and Popsicle also go hormone free and use sustainable vanilla in the future. When that happens, they will be the largest maker of ice cream in the world to source hormone-free milk and sustainable vanilla.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Breyer's ice cream ditches the hormones, adds sustainable vanilla
The popular brand of ice cream will be made with non-rBST milk and cream, plus vanilla that's sustainably sourced.