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Hellmann’s Takes Company to Court Over the Nature of Mayo

You have to break some eggs to make an omelet and, according to a lawsuit from the maker of Hellmann's, the same goes for mayonnaise. The food company Unilever is suing a California company that uses the word "Mayo" in its sandwich spread name, saying that federal regulators and dictionaries define mayonnaise as a spread that contains eggs.

The suit claims false advertising by the company Hampton Creek for labeling its egg-free product "Just Mayo." Unilever says in a complaint filed in federal court that the world mayo implies that the product is mayonnaise, and Just Mayo is "stealing market share from Hellmann's." Unilever holds the biggest share of the U.S. mayonnaise market, which is estimated to be worth $2 billion annually, according to market-research firm Euromonitor. That's more than twice the size of the ketchup market. Hampton Creek did not return calls from The Associated Press seeking comment Tuesday morning. The company told The Wall Street Journal that it doesn't mislead consumers because it advertises the absence of eggs as a benefit.

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-- The Associated Press