General Mills is investigating a hoax press release posted on PRNewswire today with the headline, “Obama Orders Full Investigation of General Mills Supply Chain Following Food Recalls.”
The release was a fake, but was picked up briefly by Dow Jones Newswire, WSJ Online and Fox Business News. It has since been removed.
“We were the victim of a hoax,” said Tom Forsythe, a spokesman for General Mills in a statement. “We found the false release and removed it within minutes, but even false information can still spread incredibly quickly on the Internet.”
While the hoax release appeared on PRNewswire, General Mills chose BusinessWire to issue their response. The company said in the release, “law enforcement is involved,” in the investigation and that the company will, “prosecute the matter to the fullest extent of the law.”
PRNewswire Vice President, Communications Rachel A. Meranus said in a statement to PRNewser, “We take this situation – and any similar hoaxes that our peers in the news distribution services industry have to confront – very seriously. We have reported the situation to the appropriate regulatory authorities and will cooperate in any investigation that may occur as a result of the hoax. Because this situation is pending potential investigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”