MINNEAPOLIS--()--General Mills said today that a release posted and distributed last night via PR Newswire was a hoax.
“We were the victim of a hoax”
The release was posted with the headline “Obama Orders Full Investigation of General Mills Supply Chain Following Food Recalls.” There was no truth to the information in the hoax release, and it was removed within minutes when it was detected by General Mills, but headlines and stories appeared briefly on newswires and online. Those stories were retracted and removed, but automated alerts from services such as Google further disseminated the false headlines, some with links to the hoax release or to retracted news stories.
“We were the victim of a hoax,” said Tom Forsythe, a spokesman for General Mills. “We found the false release and removed it within minutes, but even false information can still spread incredibly quickly on the Internet.”
“This information did not come from the company. It was not authorized or confirmed by the company. We are shocked that the news release was posted. It was quite clearly and obviously a hoax.”
General Mills is investigating, and law enforcement is involved.
The company declined to provide details of that investigation, but said it would pursue and prosecute the matter to the fullest extent of the law.