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Facebook stories aren’t always true

By Staff | Sep 13, 2015

The Jolly Green Giant is not going anywhere.

Well, first off, I have to admit the news is a little bit confusing.

At least to the general public perhaps, but not to a lot of folks who call Blue Earth home.

General Mills is selling its Green Giant and Le Sueur brands of frozen and canned corn and peas to some company in New Jersey called B&G. The price? A reported $765 million.

General Mills got hold of the Green Giant brand when they purchased Pillsbury a few years back. And, Pillsbury had bought it from someone else before that. B&G is a company that owns some food products such as Ortega taco items and Cream of Wheat.

It is a little confusing as to just what B&G bought from General Mills. You see, there really hasn’t been a stand-alone Green Giant Canning Company in operation for a long time. So they bought the company which owns the Green Giant brand.

But, we need to make one thing perfectly clear. They did not, I repeat, NOT buy the 55-foot statue of the Jolly Green Guy that stands proudly over the city of Blue Earth.

However, I am not sure that if B&G offered the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce $765 million for it, we would be seeing a “SOLD” sign there right now.

But, on Facebook and on comments under internet stories about the sale, we are seeing a lot of pretty ignorant posts being made. One of which is that the statue is being moved. I think that rumor started because several major news outlets used a photo of the Giant Statue in Blue Earth as the art to go with their story about the sale.

Probably adding to the confusion is the fact that the trucks and equipment that are going to be used to fix and refurbish the Giant recently pulled into Giant Park. But they are there to give him his extreme makeover and not there to remove him and take the big green guy to B&G headquarters in New Jersey.

But it brings us back to that same point. What did B&G actually buy?

There are people across the country who think part of the sale is the canning plant in Le Sueur because there is a large wooden cutout of the Giant along Highway 169 there and the canning plant in Blue Earth because our Giant Statue is here.

We, of course know better.

Seneca bought those Green Giant plants and many others in Minnesota and Wisconsin from Pillsbury a long while back. And, while the one in Blue Earth is still being operated by Seneca Foods, the truth is the one in Le Sueur was shut down about 12 years ago when Pillsbury owned it. And when General Mills bought out Pillsbury, the old corporate office of Green Giant in Le Sueur was shut down too.

So the people who are posting comments on the bottom of stories about the sale of Green Giant and are lamenting that it is a shame the Green Giant plant in Le Sueur is going to be closed and moved to Mexico, don’t know what they are talking about.

It was closed a long time ago.

And while you might think Green Giant still owns canning plants around the world, the truth is that General Mills has mostly just contracted with other canning plants to create the Green Giant canned and frozen products.

I think they own a plant in Mexico and maybe one in France. But all those cans of Green Giant products are produced in plants owned by other companies.including Seneca. But not the plant in Blue Earth, despite what was reported in some large publications. Stories on the Green Giant sale have had many errors in them, including some reports that the Blue Earth Seneca plant labels some Green Giant products. They used to, but not anymore. Other Seneca plants, once owned by Green Giant, still do however.

Confusing? You bet.

I find it somewhat ironic that a few years ago I wrote a column about the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce selling the Green Giant Statue to the city of Le Sueur because they wanted to replace their wooden cutout of the Giant with our real statue.

That story was, of course, our annual April Fool’s Day story.

The irony is that now people on the Internet are spreading the false rumor that the statue in Blue Earth is going to be moved because a company in New Jersey has purchased the Green Giant brand.

Once again, everyone needs to remember that just because you read it on the Internet, especially on Facebook, it doesn’t make it true.

But for now, everyone just calm down. No matter if the Green Giant food brand is located in Minnesota or New Jersey, the big jolly statue is staying here.

At least we sure hope so