Target, a chain that’s popular because “upscale discount store” is apparently not an oxymoron, is a big seller of Hampton Creek’s vegan food products, including its not-mayonnaise Just Mayo. But now Target has reportedly pulled Hampton Creek products from its stores and even disabled cashiers’ ability to scan these items at checkout.
Why? That’s a more complicated question. The retailer has indicated that it involves concerns over safety, but it doesn’t appear to be isolated to just one issue or product line, which is why all of the company’s products are being pulled from stores and Target.com.
“Pending a full review, Target today started a market withdrawal of Hampton Creek products,” a company spokeswoman told Bloomberg Technology.
It has received two separate sets of allegations: One about shoddy practices in a facility that produces Hampton Creek products, and another that some of the company’s products have tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria.
Target also says it has an unconfirmed tip that raises questions about Hampton Creek’s labeling practices. Someone alerted the retailer that products may be described inaccurately as being free of genetically modified ingredients. Other items may contain allergens, like honey, that aren’t on the label.
Again, Target stressed that these are not confirmed allegations, but the chain is acting on them because of their specificity and seriousness.
“The allegations that our products are mislabeled and unsafe are false,” Hampton Creek said in a statement. “We have robust food safety standards, and as such, we remain confident about the safety of all products we sell and distribute. We look forward to working with Target and the FDA to bring this to a quick resolution.”
Hampton Creek mixes containing potentially contaminated coconut milk were recalled last year, but that’s been the company’s only known food safety issue. It has faced accusations of sending representatives to buy its products up from stores and inflate its popularity, and of exaggerating the environmental impact of its products. Three executives were recently fired after they were part of a scheme to oust CEO Josh Tetrick.
Are Hampton Creek’s products still on the shelf at other stores where you are? Keep an eye out during your travels this weekend, and report back to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.