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September 14, 2015

Mayo? Maybe Not: Sarah Brew Talks to Inc. and Law360 About FDA Pushback on Egg-Free ‘Mayo'

Hampton Creek, a startup that specializes in plant-based food, has come under fire from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Just Mayo, a product that does not meet the FDA’s standards of identity for mayonnaise. The FDA warned the company that its vegan condiment cannot be considered mayonnaise because it does not contain eggs—a required ingredient in anything sold as mayonnaise—and rejected the company’s argument that the standards should not apply since the product is called “mayo,” not “mayonnaise.” Sarah Brew, Faegre Baker Daniels partner and leader of the firm’s food litigation and regulatory practice, told Inc. that Hampton Creek should reconsider its priorities.

“They have elevated marketing over sound regulatory practices that are meant to protect the public," Brew said.

In a Law360 piece on the same topic, Brew said she doubts Hampton Creek will succeed if they continue to expect leniency from the FDA, who she said is “just applying the rules.”

“It’s not one of those things where I see a way for the FDA to compromise,” Brew said. “What they’d want to see is the company changing the name in a way that maybe captures what they want to convey about the product, but doesn’t suggest that it’s mayonnaise.”

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