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From Eggs to Trees, USDA Promotional Programs Controversial

  • Associated Press

FILE - Brown eggs are shown in their carton in a home in Palm Springs, California, Aug. 17, 2015.

FILE - Brown eggs are shown in their carton in a home in Palm Springs, California, Aug. 17, 2015.

The Agriculture Department says it is looking into documents that show that an egg industry organization under government oversight tried to harm sales of an imitation mayonnaise.

According to email documents provided to The Associated Press, the American Egg Board tried to prevent Whole Foods retailers from selling Hampton Creek's eggless Just Mayo spread.

The egg board is one of many industry promotional boards overseen by USDA but paid for by the industries themselves. By law, the boards cannot disparage other commodities.

A USDA spokesman said the department is looking into the documents but declined to say if it would take action.

The egg industry board is only the latest to draw scrutiny. In 2012, USDA's inspector general issued a report saying department needed to improve oversight of the programs.

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