In America, we’re dead serious about how our food is labeled. If that skim milk doesn’t have vitamins in it, it ain’t real. No eggs in that mayonnaise? The Food and Drug Administration will send you a warning letter for calling it mayo.
That’s exactly what happened to San Francisco–based vegan food startup Hampton Creek, according to The Atlantic. The makers of Just Mayo, an eggless spread made with apple cider vinegar, pea protein and canola oil, were alerted by the FDA that the condiment does not qualify as real mayonnaise and is therefore being misrepresented. Our first order of business was to dig up our office-wide mayonnaise blind taste test from back in 2013 to make sure we weren’t sampling any of the “fake” stuff. Phew. All good.
The letter states: “According to the standard of identity for mayonnaise, egg is a required ingredient (21 CFR 169.140(c)); however, based on the ingredient information on the labels, these products do not contain eggs. We also note that these products contain additional ingredients that are not permitted by the standard, such as modified food starch, pea protein and beta-carotene, which may be used to impart color simulating egg yolk. Therefore, these products do not conform to the standard for mayonnaise.”
The company also makes vegan cookie dough, which it encourages consumers to eat raw, since there are no eggs used. Now that sounds like a win-win.
Hampton Creek has yet to address the FDA’s complaint. Allow us to present some suggestions, should a name change be in order: Just Not Mayo, May-no-eggs, Vegan Mayo-Like You Can’t Sue Us Over.