A harrowing tale from writer Jensen Karp on Twitter has sparked an unusual debate: shrimp tails or Sugar Blob? While enjoying a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Karp says he poured out a few more delicious squares only to find two unidentified morsels that looked suspiciously similar to shrimp tails. He reported the unusual cereal prize to Cinnamon Toast crunch who, after offering to investigate and replace the box, later claimed their experts had identified the lumps as accumulated sugar.
"Imagine a universe where I’m like, “Yuck. These are shrimp tails.” Then I re-examine them a few hours later and realize, “Nope. These are just accumulations of sugar.”," Tweeted Karp.
An admirable attempt by Cinnamon Toast Crunch to bury the scandal, but unfortunately an ineffective one. The internet soon stepped in to do what the internet does best: combine the force of legitimate experts and Meme Master Generals to turn the traumatic snack time into a Twitter thread for the ages.
Among the jokes came a sincere offer to DNA test the samples from Adam Wall of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, someone uniquely well-placed to weigh in on the issue being Collections Manager of the second largest collection of crustaceans in the USA. Armed with both the knowledge and necessary equipment, Wall’s Tweet makes for a refreshing change of pace, given it’s often the underqualified and unsubstantiated who make the most noise on the platform.
Sugar Blob theory became all the more unbelievable when, fueled by fear and the pursuit of justice, Karp went like a reportage photographer deeper into the belly of the beast (aka cereal box) and found further evidence of contamination.
Concerned citizens soon stepped in to deliver the news no cereal enthusiast wants to hear, “Hate to say it but the black stuff looks like mouse poo.”
Internet sleuths even went far enough to investigate the Cinnamon Toast Crunch construction process watching videos on YouTube as to how the delicious, and sometimes poop-infused squares come to be. “Hopefully the "baking" process killed any bacteria??” wrote one concerned Twitter user. “The scary thing is if the contamination was in the cinnamon sugar tossing stage there is no heat treatment after that step,” replied another.
At the time of writing, Cinnamon Toast Crunch-Gate is still under investigation as Karp intends to get the “mysterious” black specks tested. The outlook, however, seems poor considering further investigation by his wife found another bag that appeared to have been taped closed and contained what looked like dental floss. Karp has also rebutted accusations that it was a fake story fabricated to make himself go viral online with photographs of contaminants that are baked into the cereal squares.
Stringent health and safety laws surrounding food production usually protect most of us from finding anything too heinous in prepackaged food. That said, DNA analyses of ingredients used by the popular sandwich restaurant Subway suggested earlier this year that most of its “tuna” was, in fact, not made of tuna. "We found that the ingredients were not tuna and not fish," the attorney of claimants said in an email to the Washington Post. However, Subway representatives told IFLScience in an email, “There is no basis in law or fact for the plaintiffs' claims, which are frivolous and are being pursued without adequate investigation."
It may be too early to draw firm conclusions on either incident, but they both serve as a reminder that, if we really are what we eat, it might be worth double-checking what that is.