Eco-friendly ice cream company Ben and Jerry’s (B&J) has admitted it has been wasting millions of litres of water by running taps non-stop to wash scoops.

The company, which markets itself as a green leader and runs the highly successful and carbon neutral Sundae on the Common festival at Clapham Common, said health and safety rules means it has to use “dipping wells”, which run constantly on to the scoop to stop bacteria forming.

A report in the News of the World last Sunday said the practice meant the company was wasting 1m litres of water a day - enough to provide the daily water requirement for 250,000 people in Mozambique.

B&J, which has 782 stores in the UK including one in Wandsworth at the Southside Cineworld, said the amount of water wastage was closer to 43m litres a year, but that its policy was “not acceptable” and said it was making changes.

A company statement said: “Our global operating standards follow United States Food & Drug Administration regulations on food hygiene. We recognise that the use of dipping wells with running water results in unacceptable wastage, which is why over the past year Ben & Jerry's has trialled a new water-saving device in Europe that meets health and safety standards.

“It’s already in 12 stores in Europe and the UK, and will be in all UK stores by the end of November 2009. This new technology reduces our use of water by up to 78 per cent, so we can continue our mission to make great ice cream in the nicest possible way.”

The B&J’s festival in Clapham Common is a carbon neutral festival.

This year proceeds helped support a biomass programme in India.

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