PORTLAND, Ore. – It's official: The National Pork Board says it knows unicorns don't exist.
The industry group says it was only protecting its trademark when it issued cease-and-desist warning to online retailer ThinkGeek for calling a fake unicorn meat product "the new white meat."
The fictional canned meat, described as an "excellent source of sparkles," was an April Fool's prank.
But the 12-page letter from the board's law firm was no joke.
"We certainly offered our apologies," Scott Kauffman, President and CEO of Geeknet Inc., the parent company of ThinkGeek, told the Associated Press. "It was not our intention to confuse the public as to the attributes and qualities of the two meats."
In a public apology this week, ThinkGeek said its nonexistent canned unicorn meat is sparkly, a bit red and not approved by any government entity.
"We certainly understand that unicorns don't exist," said Ceci Snyder, vice president of marketing for the National Pork Board. "Yes, it's funny. But if you don't respond, you are opening your trademark up to challenges."
The council said it is in discussions with the company.
"Where we feel victimized, is I don't know of another organization that does more to promote pork products than our site," Kauffman said, noting the company sells around 20 real items related to bacon, such as bacon gumballs and bacon soap.
ThinkGeek "launches" mock products every April Fool's day. The company said it was surprised the board did not raise any concerns about another prank item this year called "My First Bacon" — a talking stuffed toy that looked like a piece of bacon.
"To be attacked in this manner, given all we do for pork, the irony is not lost on us," he said.