Following the release of emails between members of the American Egg Board — the industry lobby group that popularized the catchy “Incredible, Edible Egg” slogan — indicating plans to defame a vegan enemy, the United States Department of Agriculture has opened an investigation into the AEB.
Earlier this year, the AEB was found to be attempting to orchestrate a food industry rejection of its perceived nemesis, the vegan mayonnaise company Hampton Creek — by soliciting the help of popular food personalities and publications.
In email documents, the company was called a “major threat to the future,” and the AEB even attempted, unsuccessfully, to keep the product off of Whole Foods shelves. Now, the lobby group is thought to have used public funds in its campaign against Hampton Creek, violating federal laws.
In September, the American Egg Board’s CEO, Joanne Ivy, stepped down.
In a statement, the USDA confirmed that it was “conducting a thorough administrative review of issues involving the American Egg Board” and is “committed to establishing a level playing field that protects and promotes all appropriate agricultural endeavors. AMS (the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service) does not condone any efforts to limit competing products in commerce.”