According to documents obtained by Business Insider, Hampton Creek—the vegan company that produces egg-less “Just Mayo”—responded to an August letter issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning the company that it could not use the term “mayonnaise.” Hampton Creek’s response stated that its product is “mayo”—a term for which the FDA lacks a definition— and does not claim to be mayonnaise, a product the FDA defines as a combination of egg yolks, vegetable oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. The dispute over Just Mayo has raised issues of whether cruelty-free companies are able to label products with recognizable food names similar to “mayo,” along with the motives behind barring them from doing so. Shortly after the FDA issued its letter, hundreds of emails involving the American Egg Board (AEB) and the United States Department of Agriculture surfaced to reveal illegal activity enacted by the AEB to eliminate Hampton Creek as a competitor, including the misuse of government funds to pay third-party individuals to remove Just Mayo from Whole Foods Market’s shelves.
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