The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has reportedly launched an investigation into the American Egg Board (AEB) following the release of emails that allegedly revealed a concerted campaign against Hampton Creek, the manufacturer of an egg-free mayonnaise-like spread called Just Mayo. According to The Guardian, the announcement comes after calls for a congressional investigation by Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick and others.
“Recent news reports have brought to light a series of emails, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, that contain compelling evidence that [American Egg Board] leadership, including the Egg Board’s President and CEO, may have violated the federal laws and administrative regulations governing checkoff programs,” stated U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in an October 20 letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack about the emails. Additional details about the AEB emails and litigation against Hampton Creek appear in Issues 578 and 549 of this Update.
“AMS is conducting a thorough administrative review of issues involving the American Egg Board. This involves a substantial amount of material, and while AMS expects to complete the review in an expeditious manner, a complete review will take some time. AMS will not comment on personnel matters involving the board,” a USDA spokesperson was quoted as saying. See The Guardian, October 23, 2015.