Unilever-owned ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s is to phase out the use of genetically modified products from its global ice cream lines by the end of the year.

At present, only around 80% of Ben & Jerry’s ingredients are non-GM, according to the ice cream maker. By the end of the year, however, it hopes to move that to 100%.

“While most of our ingredients are already sourced non-GMO, we decided to take this opportunity to also source any ingredient that can be Fairtrade certified as such. Our goal is for all of our flavours to be Fairtrade certified and sourced with non-GMO ingredients by the end of the year,” the company said.

The process, Ben & Jerry’s said, is a “complex” one that will involve around 40 different ingredients in a single flavour. As a result, the conversion process may continue into 2014, it said.

Genetic modification has become a hot issue in the US, Ben & Jerry’s home market. Consumer groups have pushed for more information on whether products contain GM ingredients. In November, a vote was held in California on whether food including GM ingredients should be labelled. However, a majority of Californians rejected the plans, with 53% voting against the initiative.

In its latest blog, Ben & Jerry’s said: “We aren’t scientists, we make ice cream, but we do know there are questions about whether GMO technology is truly living up to its promise of making bigger and better food, or whether it’s just simply another way to further industrialise and consolidate our food and agriculture system.”