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American Egg Board CEO Retires Early Amidst Vegan Mayo Controversy

She was caught trying to get Whole Foods to stop selling vegan mayo brand Just Mayo

Just Mayo/Facebook

The CEO of the American Egg Board has stepped down earlier then planned due to getting some, well, egg on her face. According to the New York Times, Joanne Ivy retired at the end of last month instead of December 31 as scheduled due to the release of emails that indicated "she tried to stop the sale" of Hampton Creek's vegan mayonnaise at Whole Foods.

Last month it was revealed that the Egg Board — which is funded by the egg industry and run by the USDA — had been plotting to take down San Francisco-based Hampton Creek, which makes vegan mayo alternative Just Mayo. Emails that were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show the board discussing whether or not to alert the FDA about how the name "Just Mayo" is misleading. They also joked about putting out a "gangster-style hit" on Hampton Creek's CEO. There are also emails that show Ivy accepted a consultant's offer "to make that phone call to keep Just Mayo off of Whole Foods' shelves."

While the USDA declined to comment on the reason for Ivy's early departure, it comes just as the federal agency launches its investigation into the Egg Board over its actions related to Hampton Creek. Even though the USDA technically runs the board, it claims in a statement that it is "committed to establishing a level playing field that protects and promotes all appropriate agricultural endeavors" and that the agency does not "condone any effort to limit competing products in commerce." Even then, it does raise some eyebrows that the agency responsible for the controversy is the one investigating it. The American Egg Board has not responded to a request for a statement.