If you were following any of the controversy surrounding San Francisco startup Hampton Creek's vegan mayonnaise (or should we say eggless, dairy-free carefully crafted sandwich spread), with opponents such as Hellmann's, Unilever (the parent company), and even the American Egg Board, you know that calling it a "Mayo War" is not an exaggeration. Fortunately, Unilever's lawsuit against the startup was eventually dropped, and Hampton Creek continues to add more products to their impressive line.
Now, according to Fortune, a new bill that was inspired by the case of Hampton Creek, was introduced this morning by both Republican Senator Mike Lee and Democratic Senator Cory Booker. The bill, titled the Commodity Checkoff Program Improvement Act of 2016, could help prevent similar situations from occurring in the future. According to Bloomberg, the bill would make sure that:
"Federal programs intended to promote the sale of agricultural commodities like eggs, beef, and pork don't break the law by becoming mere extensions of the industries themselves, whether by attacking competitors or attempting to influence public policy."
That last part seems very familiar when it comes to the case of Hampton Creek's Just Mayo. And it should, since the bill was in part crafted based on the American Egg Board's attempts to keep Just Mayo out of Whole Foods, help with the Unilever lawsuit, and the fact that they viewed the startup as a "major threat to the future of the egg product business."
As the Egg Board is a commodity checkoff program, this bill would make sure that they--along with other checkoff programs--would simply promote their own products, rather than focus on attacking competitors ("anti-competitive activity") or getting involved in policy issues.
CEO of Hampton Creek, Josh Tetrick, discussed his company's experience with both senators, and was pleased with the proposed bill, stating that it "addresses all of the issues".
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