Blog: Dean BestNo eggs but FDA allows Hampton Creek to keep Just Mayo name

Dean Best | 18 December 2015

In a surprise agreement, the US Food and Drug Administration has said egg-free mayonnaise maker Hampton Creek can continue to use the Just Mayo brand.

The deal between the FDA and the upstart food maker, announced overnight, comes four months after the regulator said Hampton Creek was breaking the country's labelling rules due to the absence of egg in its spread.

"The FDA and the company met to discuss the issues cited in the warning letter and worked together to address them," the watchdog told just-food. "The company committed to making labelling changes that satisfactorily address the concerns noted in FDA’s correspondence. Therefore the FDA considers the issues cited in the warning letter to be resolved and will issue a close-out letter soon."

In August, the FDA had written to Hampton Creek founder and CEO Josh Tetrick to say the company's Just Mayo and Just Mayo Sriracha products were "misbranded" as they "purport to be the standardised food mayonnaise" but do not meet ingredient regulations.

"The term mayo has long been used and understood as shorthand or slang for mayonnaise. The use of the term mayo in the product names and the image of an egg may be misleading to consumers because it may lead them to believe that the products are the standardised food, mayonnaise, which must contain eggs," the FDA wrote.

At the time, the FDA said the action had been sparked by a complaint, although it did not disclose in its correspondence with just-food nor in the letter to Hampton Creek the identity of the complainant.

Last December, Unilever withdrew a lawsuit against Hampton Creek in which it accused the US company of deceiving consumers with Just Mayo.

In a statement posted online yesterday, Tetrick said the company was "enormously grateful".

"Our outdated food system is the thread running through much of what’s broken—from diabetes to food deserts to the decline of our family farms. From Birmingham to Boston, folks don’t believe good food for everyone is possible. But today's decision by a thoughtful group at our nation's FDA proves it is possible," he said.

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