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If you've spent any time on Twitter over the past few days, you may have heard about the Cinnamon Toast Crunch drama. Or should we call it Cinnamon Shrimp Crunch? Jensen Karp, a music producer and TV writer, allegedly found shrimp tails in his bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch this week and posted an image on Twitter. As Karp continued to dig, he also found what could seem to be rodent droppings in his bag, some even caked onto the cereal as well.
The story escalated over a 24-hour period as Karp continued to put his correspondence with Cinnamon Toast Crunch on public display. Karp claims he is taking the cereal to be tested at a lab, to confirm if there truly is shrimp and potential rodent droppings in his cereal, instead of an "accumulation of cinnamon sugar," which was a phrase Cinnamon Toast Crunch used as a response to Karp.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch immediately made an announcement confident that this didn't happen at their facilities. The CEO of General Mills, the company that owns and produces Cinnamon Toast Crunch, made an announcement a day later that the company takes food safety "very seriously." General Mills also released a statement saying they will be working with Karp on identifying the issue.
While an investigation is still happening around those black "droppings" and the sugar-coated Cinnamon Shrimp Crunch, we couldn't help but ask ourselves: how is Cinnamon Toast Crunch actually made? Is there any chance that shrimp could actually get in the bag?
After a bit of digging, we found a 2018 news segment by KRQE News 13, which aired a behind-the-scenes look at the General Mills factory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The team in particular gave a small glimpse at the part of the factory that makes Cinnamon Toast Crunch. From the shaping of the dough to sealing the bags in those familiar colorful boxes, the segment was able to show users exactly how every crunchy square is made.
So, what's the process? According to the segment, it all starts out with a dough. A special dough is made for the cereal, which is then pressed into a large sheet. The sheet is then cut into those tiny squares and the squares go through a toaster.
Next, the squares "take a little journey" to a machine where they go through a tumbling process so they can be evenly coated in "nutrients, cinnamon, and sugar." The cereal then goes to a machine where it is scaled into proper portions, sealed into bags, pressed into boxes, and sent out for distribution.
The process looks seamless, and while there isn't any proof that shrimp tails actually ended up in a bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, there are large machines in this factory being used. If shrimp tails were to be coated in sugar with the rest of the squares, then fallen into a bag, it could have been during that "tumbling process" between baking and coating. Again, there is no current proof that this is a reality, and this is only an assumption based on the process from General Mills factory.
Regardless if there really was Cinnamon Shrimp Crunch or not, it's always good to inspect your food and make sure it's safe to eat. If you're not sure, you can read more about proper food safety here. It's also important to stay on top of any food recalls. The Food&Drug Administration (FDA) is constantly alerting the public about recalled food.