Business

General Mills CEO Says Company Takes Food Safety Very Seriously After Shrimp Tail Claims Go Viral

Denis Balibouse | Reuters
  • General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening said on CNBC's "Closing Bell" that the company takes food safety very seriously after a customer claimed to find shrimp tails in his Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
  • Harmening said the company is working with TV writer and podcast host Jensen Karp to figure out what happened.
  • Cereal sales have soared during the coronavirus pandemic as more consumers find themselves eating breakfast at home.

General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening said that the company takes food safety very seriously after a customer's claim that he found shrimp tails in his Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal went viral.

"It is amazing the amount of news coverage that this story has generated. I must admit that some of it is kind of humorous, but what I want you to know and your viewers to know is that we take food safety very seriously at General Mills," Harmening told CNBC's Sara Eisen on "Closing Bell."

TV writer and podcast host Jensen Karp tweeted on Monday that he found several shrimp tails in a box of the General Mills cereal.

Karp also claimed that the other box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch that he purchased appeared to include dental floss and was taped at the bottom.

"Based on the information that we have right now, it is highly unlikely that this occurred at a General Mills facility," Harmening said.

Harmening added that General Mills is working with Karp, although the relationship appears to be contentious based Karp's tweets. Karp tweeted earlier Wednesday that he's waiting for the envelope from General Mills to arrive in order to send them back pieces.

Karp told Yahoo Entertainment that he wants General Mills to pull the cereal from shelves to protect consumers have might have shellfish allergies or keep kosher.

Cereal sales received an unexpected lift over the last year from the coronavirus pandemic after years of stagnant growth. Consumers who are working remotely have returned to old favorites, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Cheerios. Earlier on Wednesday, General Mills reported that U.S. cereal sales rose 9% in its most recent quarter.

Shares of the company dropped 4% in afternoon trading after it fell short of Wall Street's expectations for its fiscal third-quarter earnings. The stock has risen 21% over the last year, giving it a market value of $35.9 billion. In addition to its booming cereal business during the pandemic, consumers have also been using more of its baking products and buying more of its Blue Buffalo pet food.

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