Commodity Checkoff Program Improvement Act would prevent meat and dairy trade groups from unfairly attacking vegan competitors.
A bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate this month that would block federal foodstuff promotion programs from favoring one industry sector over another. Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) were prompted to write the Commodity Checkoff Program Improvement Act of 2016 after the American Egg Board’s attempts to damage Hampton Creek, makers of the popular vegan mayonnaise Just Mayo. But the Egg Board is part of the government’s commodity checkoff program, which is supervised by the US Department of Agriculture. Program participants are supposed to promote their commodities (ie, eggs, beef, or milk), but are prohibited from attacking competitors—as the Egg Board did by trying to damage Hampton Creek. If Booker and Lee’s bill passes, checkoff budgets would be made public, allowing people to know if these government-sponsored marketing bodies spend money on smear campaigns against competitors.