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Planet Earth

Protect the Future of Ice Cream... by Eating Ice Cream

Häagen-Dazs pitches in to protect the honeybee.

By Stephen CassMarch 20, 2008 5:00 AM

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If honeybees die off, it will endanger ice cream, warns Häagen-Dazs: The cows whose milk makes ice cream eat alfalfa that depends on bees. Forty percent of Häagen-Dazs’s flavors contain other ingredients, from almonds to strawberries, that rely completely on honeybee pollination. The continuing and mysterious disappearance of the bees—aside from threatening one-third of the United States’ food supply and at least $15 billion worth of agricultural productivity—could spell dessert disaster. Pollinating California’s almond crop alone already requires more than half the current population of American honeybees.

This month ice-cream makers go on the offensive. Häagen-Dazs is launching two new honey-themed flavors and labeling bee-dependent pints to help save the honeybee. A portion of the proceeds, up to $250,000, will go to geneticists, entomologists, and educators at the University of California at Davis and Pennsylvania State University who will research the causes of the bees’ decline, create stronger bees in the laboratory, and teach the public how to make their surroundings more bee friendly.

The two new flavors—Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream and Vanilla Honey & Granola frozen yogurt—are both delicious. The honey flavor is sharp without overwhelming the vanilla, and samples left in DISCOVER’s freezer vanished in record time. So next time you’re looking for a virtuous indulgence, think of the honeybees.

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