Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick has written a blog post responding to allegations of improper product testing and workplace practices described in a 3,000-word Business Insider story based on the accounts of about a half-dozen anonymous former employees.
The former employees’ claims included that Tetrick’s dog had been known to eat samples being tested for shelf life, that the company had incorrectly labeled some samples and products and that scientific research behind products had been exaggerated.
“In this hyper-click age, I realize the article has passed into the night. Yet, in the interest of truth, these are the fact-based responses,” reads Tetrick’s post on Medium, in which he admits to some of the allegations.
Tetrick wrote that these allegations were at least partially accurate:
- Hampton Creek did leave the word “concentrate” off the lemon juice ingredient on the label of Just Mayo. Tetrick wrote that the company corrected the label within days of a team member pointing out the inaccuracy.
- Tetrick’s dog Jake did roam the lab in the past, though Tetrick wrote that the dog “was never invited into the production facility” and has not been allowed in the lab for 2.5 years.
- The company did alter employee agreements back in early days. “I should have had an open conversation with team members immediately after seeing the mistakes in the agreements. It was my responsibility. Within days, I talked with the team about it and it was fixed,” wrote Tetrick.
- Tetrick did date a member of Hampton Creek staff. He denied however that she received any pay raise or promotion out of nepotism. “To suggest that anyone would receive a pay raise or promotion for anything other than merit is false,” he wrote.
Tetrick’s post disputes other allegations:
- The size and scope of Hampton Creek's research databases have not been exaggerated. “The Hampton Creek research databases contain botanical, molecular, and functional data across more than 100,000 plant species and varieties,” the CEO wrote.
- Just Mayo was developed in-house. “We’ve always said that we started with a product development firm, and then opted to move R&D in-house. We launched our formula more than a year later, and have done three mayo overhauls since,” he wrote.
- The company did not skimp on testing periods for its shelf-stable mayo. The post includes a graph pertaining to shelf stability.
“We (the staff of Hampton Creek) move on like lightning, but it wasn’t about the story moving on,” Tetrick tells Inc. of his decision to respond to the Business Insider story.
It is unclear if any allegations are being investigated by any regulatory agency. Generally speaking, federal regulatory agencies do not comment on ongoing investigations and records of investigations typically do not become available online unless the agency has uncovered misconduct by the party being investigated. Some records, such as consumer complaints made to the Federal Trade Commission about a company, are available through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The United States Department of Agriculture does not have an online database pertaining to investigations and records of investigations, a spokesman told Inc. Such records would have to be requested through FOIA.