Just Mayo Reaches Agreement with FDA and will Get to Keep its Name
It seems that underdog Just Mayo is winning the Mayo War.
The company announced this week that it has reached an agreement with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowing it to keep its name. The company will also make changes to its label to clear up confusion about its ingredients.
Made by California-based Hampton Creek, Just Mayo is a vegan spread made with vegetable oils instead of eggs. In August, the FDA sent a warning letter to the company letting it know that because Just Mayo isn't made with eggs, it doesn't fit the legal definition of mayonnaise. Using the word "mayo," a common nickname for the popular condiment, is misleading, said the FDA.
The FDA also took issue with the company's logo, which included a small sprout in an egg, and some health claims made on the label.
The Associated Press reports that in its agreement, Just Mayo will stay, but the label will be modified. The label will clearly state that the product does not contain eggs and will make the words "egg-free" larger. The label will also include the words "Spread & Dressing" and the egg logo will be smaller.
The niche product with a big following ended up in the cross hairs of big mayo companies and a government agency. Unilever – the maker of Hellmann's – last year filed a lawsuit against Just Mayo claiming that the eggless product wasn't real mayonnaise. Unilever claimed it was trying to protect consumers from misleading advertising. The company's actions went unappreciated, however, and more than 112,000 people signed a petition urging it to drop the lawsuit. The company eventually did.
Just Mayo also ruffled the feathers of the American Egg Board (AEB), the semi-governmental agency tasked with promoting eggs and egg products. Shortly after the FDA warning letter, a Freedom of Information Act request by the Associated Press found that high-level members of the egg board, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employee and an outside public relations firm discussed strategies for dealing with the eggless competitor, including trying to convince Whole Foods to pull the product.
The USDA is still investigating the board for possible misuse of government funds.