Big Pie in the Sky

Fake news reports hundreds of people died after eating the Patti LaBelle brand 'Patti's Sweet Potato Pie.'

Claim: Hundreds of people died after eating the Patti LaBelle brand ‘Patti’s Sweet Potato Pie.’

FALSE

Origins: On 14 November 2014, the web site ReportQuickly published an article positing that hundreds of people had died after consuming ‘Patti’s Sweet Potato Pie,’ a brand of pie named for singer/actress Patti LaBelle:

As of November 13th, 234 people have been reported dead after consumption of the famous Patti’s Sweet Potato Pie, which are being pulled off of the shelves of Wal-Mart stores. The popular desert rose to fame after a video review of the pie went viral.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 100,000 pies produced in October and November were tainted with Tetrodotoxin, a venomous substance found in the blue ringed octopus and puff fish. The venom is tasteless and can kill a human being within minutes of consumption. Moments after consumption, a victim will become paralyzed and blood flow to the brain is immediately stopped.

According to the CDC, the pies were produced in the same factory that thousands of puffer fish are devenomized and prepared. The CDC and FDA are currently running an investigation on the factory to find out how the pies were tainted. In the meantime, the company has issued a recall on the pies and Walmart will be accepting returns.

Soon afterwards, links to the article were being widely circulated via social media, leaving many readers believing the headline and underlying story were part of a genuine news account. However, the claim about multiple deaths from consumption of ‘Patti’s Sweet Potato Pie’ was nothing more than fake news from ReportQuickly, a web site that describes itself as “a combination of real shocking news and satire news” and warns that “articles written on this site are for entertainment and satirical purposes only.”

Last updated: 15 November 2015

Originally published: 15 November 2015