Feds investigate alleged conspiracy against vegan mayonaise

October 23, 2015, 10:03 PM UTC
Hampton Creek Foods Founder and CEO Joshua Tetrick Interview
Joshua Tetrick, founder and chief executive officer of Hampton Creek Foods, stands for a photograph after a Bloomberg Television interview in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. Hampton Creek Foods is using technology, science and culinary expertise to replicate eggs and products made with them. The company's first shelf-ready brand "Just Mayo," has already made its way to market. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

The United States Department of Agriculture is investigating the American Egg Board, a checkoff organization that advocates for the egg industry, in the wake of allegations that it waged a campaign against egg-free mayo company Hampton Creek.

Internal American Egg Board emails, released in the wake of a FOIA request due to the organization’s status as a quasi-governmental body, showed leaders of the Board, including its president and CEO Joanne Ivy, conspiring to sink the food start-up. Board leaders allegedly tried to stop the sale of Just Mayo in Whole Foods stores and looked through the company’s patents for flaws, the Guardian reported. At one point, the executive vice president of the Board jokingly offered “to contact some of my old buddies in Brooklyn to pay Mr Tetrick a visit.” (Josh Tetrick is the CEO of Hampton Creek.)