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Is there a government conspiracy against this vegan mayonnaise company?


Just Mayo
(NaturalNews) By definition, the term "conspiracy" means "a secret plan made by two or more people to do something that is harmful or illegal." Have "two or more people" within the U.S. government plotted to harm an American plant-based food company? Let's examine the data.

As reported by Food Safety News, the company – Hampton Creek – was started as an idea between two friends for creating a business that would use plant proteins in creating food products that are more healthy, affordable, humane and sustainable. Not bad so far, right?

Working out of a big garage in San Fran, the budding company, which was eventually named for one of the founders' dogs, launched its first product called "Just Mayo," which landed on the shelves of Whole Foods Market.

The two thought they were on their way. But they were wrong. It was shortly thereafter that federal stooges and corporate thugs began to conspire to put the upstart wholesome food company out of business.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by graduate student and animal rights activist, Ryan Noah Shapiro, turned up emails that expose a government-industry conspiracy to not only tamp down the competition, but also to shield information from the public, even when it proves the misuse of federal funds.

As further reported by The New Republic, food giant Unilever, which owns Hellmann's and Best Foods mayonnaise, filed suit against Hampton Creek, alleging false advertising. Unilever argued that, since mayonnaise is defined by law as "egg yolk-containing," and since "Just Mayo" has no egg yolks (a vegan substitute using only yellow peas), Hampton Creek couldn't infer its product was "mayo." Unilever dropped its suit in December 2014, but more on that in a moment.

Well-coordinated and financed effort to destroy a competitor

Suspecting that Unilever was getting some assistance in its battle against Just Mayo, Shapiro began to think about who else might be affected by the product. One industry that might feel some pain from egg-free mayo is the egg industry, so Shapiro decided to FOIA email records from the American Egg Board, a government-funded trade group supposedly overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

What Shapiro turned up in the emails is stunning.

Both the USDA and the egg board:

1. Exceeded their own mandates;
2. Violated five laws; and
3. Conducted a well-coordinated, well-funded, two-plus year campaign to drive Hampton Creek out of business.

Industry groups like the American Egg Board are only supposed to use government funding to promote their own products, like the beef industry promotes, "It's what's for dinner," and the pork industry promotes, "The other white meat."

But instead, the emails prove that executives of the board and officials within the USDA conspired against Hampton Creek, calling the company "a major threat to the future of the egg product business" and their existence "a crisis."

Lobbying to hide future evidence of corruption

Joanne Ivy, who has since stepped down from her post as president of the Egg Board, sent an email soliciting ideas to thwart the company, even suggesting that the board put pressure on the Food and Drug Administration to declare Just Mayo's labeling misleading. She also used a public relations firm to put pressure on Whole Foods to drop the product, which it didn't. In another email, a member of the board even joked that the trade group should arrange a Mafia hit on Hampton Creek's CEO, Joshua Tetrick.

In addition, contracts were inked with online journalists to denigrate Hampton Creek. And the USDA even sent a letter at one point to Hampton Creek regarding its early 20th century definition of what mayonnaise had to contain (egg yolks in particular).

So, what would cause Unilever to drop its lawsuit against the much smaller, less capitalized Hampton Creek? As New Republic reported, the various egg, beef, pork, milk, potato and other producers got together to convince Congress to insert language into this year's agriculture bill that would exempt them from all FOIA requests. Seems Unilever and Co. are more upset at Shapiro for rooting out the corruption than anything else. And it seems too many lawmakers agree.

If that provision becomes law, not only will FOIA be gutted, but food industry groups and companies will be free to conspire in the future to hide evidence of wrongdoing and abuse taxpayer funding in order to put competitors out of business.

If you still think our government isn't thoroughly corrupt, you're just not paying attention.

Sources:

FoodSafetyNews.com

NewRepublic.com

Money.CNN.com

AccessData.FDA.gov
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