By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – What does a label mean when it says the product is cruelty free?

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Last year, Hellman’s mayonnaise sued a tiny company called Hampden Creek – which prides itself on being cruelty free – for false advertising because it calls its product vegan mayo which they say is misleading because, by definition, it ain’t mayo if it ain’t made with eggs.

Ironically, all of the attention the lawsuit gained in the media gave Hampton Creek free advertising estimated to be worth $21 million in the first week that the lawsuit was filed.

But, the real irony may be that consumers are confused not by a claim that something is mayonnaise, but rather by a claim that a product is cruelty free, a claim that appears on labels on many food and cosmetic products.

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According to the FDA, there is no legal definition of the phrase cruelty free.

Some companies use it on finished cosmetic products even though they may rely on raw material suppliers to perform any animal testing necessary to substantiate product or ingredient safety.

Many raw materials used in cosmetics were tested on animals years ago when they were first introduced but now are not “currently” tested on animals.

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So if you want something that is vegan, animal product free and may or may not be taste-free, buy it. If you want to buy because a product says “cruelty free” dig a little deeper to determine what that actually means.