The internet was abuzz this month after Los Angeles-based comedian Jensen Karp tweeted out a photo of what he said were sugar coated “shrimp tails” found in his box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
In the days following Karp’s tweet, controversy brewed as social media users posted their own photos and experiences with contaminated food products and many were quick to condemn the product safety practices of food companies in general.
This incident shows how one small production error can have massive ramifications, particularly in today’s environment of instantaneous communications and social media. Major media outlets like The New York Times, Fox News, CNN, and Forbes amplified the story even further in the days following the original post.
Here is the post that started this viral sensation:
Karp’s tweet quickly gained a large number of comments, likes and retweets. Commentary on the image ranged from hilarious to horrifying:
Eventually the official Cinnamon Toast Crunch account on Twitter responded to Karp’s photo and a brief exchange occurred:
Later that day, the Cinnamon Toast Crunch account wrote back to Karp that the “shrimp tails” may have, in fact, been agglomerated cinnamon sugar.
That apparently did not settle the matter.
General Mills issued a statement several days later:
Regardless if they really were “shrimp tails” or agglomerated cinnamon sugar, it is incredible to think that a single mishap like this could spark an internet phenomenon like this. A big lesson for the food industry to take home the need to maintain agility in responding to and investigating potential contaminations.