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How to Be Sure Your Ice Cream is Hormone-Free

ice cream

Did you catch this article in the Huffington Post the other day?  If not, read it now, or at least before you sit down to your next bowl of ice cream, which as you’ll learn, may be made with Monsanto’s artificial growth hormones.  Yuck!

What are artificial growth hormones?  They’re hormones given to cows on factory farms that make them produce much larger amounts of milk in shorter periods of time.  Not only is this uncomfortable for the dairy cows (who often get mastitis, a infection of the udders which produces pus, which ends up in your milk products…sorry to be gross, but you deserve to know), but it also means that there are excess hormones in your milk…and your cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, etc.  And while the U.S. continues to argue that drinking growth hormones is no problem, all 27 countries in the European Union, as well as New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and Canada, have banned growth hormones in dairy production because of the massive risks to human health (e.g. breast, colon, and prostate cancers).  That’s reason enough for me to be careful about what dairy products I buy.

So, What Brands of Ice Cream Should I Avoid?


Haagen Dazs


Any of the sub-brands of these companies

Many other store-brand ice creams

What Ice Creams Are Hormone-Free?

The only way to make sure that your ice cream is made with milk from healthy, pasture-grazing cows that lead happy lives is to buy organic ice cream.  Preferably, organic brands that source their milk from small dairy farmers who practice sustainable farming.  Here are a few suggestions:

Alden’s Organic (pictured above)

Stonyfield Farm Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt

Straus Family Creamery Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt


Whole Foods Organic

Julie’s Organic

Ben & Jerry’s (though some of their ingredients are conventional/not hormone-free)

Remember, just because these ice creams are organic, does not mean they’re not ultra-rich and high in calories. So as always, keep your portion size small and enjoy every bite!

For more info on why buying organic dairy products is a must, see here.


  • AmyInNH
    March 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    It’s not merely “uncomfortable” for the cows, it’s physically devastating to them. Details in the book “The World According To Monsanto”.

  • Sarah
    July 15, 2014 at 7:27 am

    I like how Breyers is a Sponsor to this (ad below)..good one! SMH

  • Amelia Winslow
    July 15, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Ugh – I hate when that happens. Unfortunately the ads my readers see are shown based on things they search for and read, not based on anything I can control. You seeing Breyer’s is definitely ironic for this article. I apologize!

  • Leanne
    July 26, 2014 at 5:58 am

    I believe you can add Trader Joe’s ice cream to the list! As far as I know, TJ’s requires all its dairy farmers to be rBGH-free. This is nice not only for the ice cream, but their incredible cheese selection, as well : )

  • Amelia Winslow
    July 28, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Yes, good point – all of TJ’s items are rBST-free. I’m not sure if their dairy is free of ALL synthetic hormones or just rBST. (There are over 30 hormones on the market but rBST is the most well-known).

  • sue
    September 1, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Ben & Jerry’s (though some of their ingredients are conventional/not hormone-free) What does this mean? It is on the list of ice creams that are hormone free.

  • mary
    August 31, 2015 at 5:28 am

    I came across your article while searching if Baskin-Robbins ice cream is made from real milk.
    The reason why, is because I ate a pint of BR ice cream (not all in one sitting), and I’m lactose intolerant. I measure the amount I can eat without locking myself in the bathroom. But I did not get the usual lactose side effects – mainly flatulence. Then I wondered if BR ice cream was made from real milk? The list of better made ice cream is helpful for future reference. Btw, is there a better quality ice cream for lactose intolerant folks?
    Thank you for the information.

  • Amelia Winslow
    August 31, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Hi Mary, I’m sure most of BR’s ice creams are made with real milk/cream, but I’m not sure about the quality or other ingredients that may aggravate symptoms of lactose intolerance. It may depend on the flavor you choose. You can always ask for an ingredients list at your Baskin Robbins. When buying ice cream at the store, you might want to get Lactaid ice cream (which is just ice cream with lactase added), or frozen yogurt / frozen kefir (which have bacterial cultures added that my help you digest) instead of regular brands of ice cream. Coconut Bliss and Nada Moo are also delicious and dairy-free.

  • Tony
    October 7, 2015 at 3:39 am

    Breyer’s is now selling at least one rBST/rBGH free ice cream. I bought their Natural Vanilla last month (9/2015) – 1.5 QUART (1.4L) 0 77567 25423 8 – and it says on the seal around the lid : “We use only milk & cream from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones. Suppliers of other ingredients such as cookies, candies & sauces may not be able to make this pledge. The FDA states that no significant difference has been shown between dairy derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST-treated cows. “

  • Tony
    October 7, 2015 at 3:51 am

    I believe that Ben & Jerry guarantee that the milk and cream used for the ice cream is rBST free. But they must buy some of the things that are mixed-in from suppliers and they don’t guarantee that any dairy used in those mix-ins is rBST free.

    Breyer’s says something to that affect on a carton of Natural Vanilla I bought last month:

    “We use only milk & cream from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones. Suppliers of other ingredients such as cookies, candies & sauces may not be able to make this pledge. “

  • Tony
    October 7, 2015 at 3:59 am

    Just looked at my notes (please don’t ask) and found Haagen-Dazs also has some non-rBST ice cream. I got this in June 2015: Haagen-Dazs ® vanilla ice cream
    3.6 FL OZ (106 mL) 0 74570 08202 5 and it says no rBST on the label. As do these two that I bought in July 2015:

    Haagen-Dazs ® Gelato dark chocolate chip Italian style frozen dessert 14 FL OZ (414 mL) 0 74570 19346 2

    Haagen-Dazs ® Gelato sea salt caramel Italian style frozen dessert
    14 FL OZ (414 mL) 0 74570 73057 5

    Hopefully the big ice cream makers are turning away from rBST.

  • Amelia Winslow
    October 7, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I hope you’re right Tony! I’ve seen Haagen-Daza in Whole Foods, and I know they don’t allow any products where rBST or other growth hormones have been used in production…so that’s a good sign. By the way, love that you have “notes”! 🙂

  • Amelia Winslow
    October 7, 2015 at 11:06 am

    You’re exactly right. The milk for both of these brands may be rBST-free but the mix-ins can have all sorts of additives. Also, there are many growth hormones on the market, besides rBST or rBGH so it’s hard to know whether all hormones are prohibited, or whether it’s just the most common ones that are on consumers’ radar.

  • Joe Hogan
    August 20, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Ben and Jerry’s are using milk from cows who are fed on grass that is full of Atrazine and other horrible chemicals.

  • Carol Anderson
    August 30, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Dear Toni,
    If Haagen Daz can stoop so low on their use of high doses of hormones, what makes you think these same unhealthy and unhappy cows don’t contain Mad Cow Disease? The main source is in the gelatinous portion of cow bone marrow-and, the main ingredient of Haagen Daz “GELATO” (Gel) is this same cow bone’s marrow gelatin.

  • Carol Anderson
    August 30, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Ms. Winslow,
    What Ice Cream is “Truly” safe for humans?
    My favorite is Three Twins brand.

  • Amelia Winslow
    September 3, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    I agree Three Twins is delicious.

  • Amelia Winslow
    September 3, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Gelato has nothing to do with “gel.” It’s an Italian word that comes from the Latin word gelatus which means “frozen.” So your explanation doesn’t hold true.

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