General Mills Probes Fake Press Release

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- General Mills Inc. said it is looking into how a fake press release was sent out that falsely said President Barack Obama had ordered an investigation into the company's supply chain.

General Mills said the release, sent out at midnight eastern through PR Newswire, was false and was removed minutes after it was detected. The news release service issued an alert on Wednesday to disregard the release, saying it was sent in by an unauthorized sender.

However, several headlines and stories based on the hoax appeared briefly on Dow Jones Newswire, the Wall Street Journal Online and Fox Business News that were later retracted and removed.

"We were the victim of a hoax," Tom Forsythe, a spokesman for General Mills said. "We found the false release and removed it within minutes, but even false information can still spread incredibly quickly on the Internet."

General Mills said law enforcement is involved in the investigation of the source of the hoax. A representative for PR Newswire did not respond to a request for comment.

The event did not appear to have any effect on the company's stock as shares rose 20 cents to $38.37 by midday Wednesday nearing its 52-week high of $38.46.

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