FDA Lays Down the Law on Mayonnaise
Agency says Hampton Creek brand has to contain eggs to be considered mayonnaise
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2015 9:00 AM CDT
In this photo taken Dec. 3, 2013, CEO Josh Tetrick holds a species of yellow pea used to make Just Mayo, a plant-based mayonnaise, at Hampton Creek Foods in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

(Newser) – Unilever, maker of Hellmann's mayonnaise, has been fighting for some time against a "fraudulent" brand it says is encroaching on its own sales. Unilever dropped the suit in December, but the FDA has given the company a sort of win all the same. The agency has declared that Hampton Creek's Just Mayo spread can't call itself mayonnaise because it doesn't meet FDA regulations for the condiment. Namely, it doesn't contain eggs; the word "Just" in the name implies the product is "nothing but" mayo; and the product contains other ingredients, such as yellow pea protein and modified food starch, that aren't allowed on the label, Business Insider reports.

In addition to the above issues outlined in an Aug. 12 letter to Hampton Creek CEO Joshua Tetrick, the FDA also warns that Just Mayo violates other FDA standards, including that it makes "cholesterol free" and heart-healthy claims that aren't valid. The company was given 15 working days to respond to the letter, the AP notes, and Tetrick said yesterday he had a "really good conversation" with the FDA and that "we feel good about where we are from a regulatory perspective, from a legal perspective." He said he didn't think the name Just Mayo would ultimately have to go, though the FDA's letter states a number of times that the Just Mayo products are "misbranded." (The government of Belgium may call a "mayo summit" to discuss its own mayonnaise laws.)