General Mills caught by hoax press release

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 18th June 2010

A press release sent out by news service PR Newswire, claiming that food company General Mills was under investigation by the US Government, has turned out to be a hoax.

The release, which went out on Tuesday, claimed that the Obama administration had ordered an “investigation into the General Mills supply chain in most major global markets due to a recent number of reported voluntary recalls on its food products across the world, most notably its cereal and fast food items in the US, UK, Europe and Asia.”

The maker of Betty Crocker, Haagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Latina Fresh, Yoplait and Cheerios said that they plan to pursue the matter with law enforcement and that the release is utterly false.

“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.”

The hoax, most likely designed to manipulate stock prices, was also disseminated by Dow Jones Newswires, but quickly removed.