Fact Check-U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was not arrested in April 2022, contrary to online claims

Claims that Tom Vilsack, U.S. Agriculture Secretary, was arrested in April 2022 are false. These unfounded allegations circulating online appear to have originated on a website that has previously spread false information and describes itself as containing “humor, parody, and satire.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Agriculture told Reuters the allegations of Vilsack’s arrest are “false.”

On April 29, website Real Raw News published an article entitled “Military Arrests Biden’s Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack” ( here )

The information has since been replicated on other websites ( here ) ( here ) , while some social media users have spread the claim as if it is authentic.

“Well, with Vilsack arrested, looks like the attacks on our food supply might come to a halt?,” one Twitter user wrote ( here ).

“Just incase you missed it Tom Vilsack the secretary of Agriculture was arrested by the military for having ties to the food processing plants disaster,” a Facebook user commented ( here ).

A TikTok clip showing a screenshot of the text has garnered at least 11,000 reproductions as of the writing of this article ( here ). Videos featuring the text of the Real Raw News article on YouTube and Rumble can be found ( here ) ( here ).

In its ‘About Us’ section ( here ), Real Raw News states that “information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes” and that the site “contains humor, parody, and satire.”

Real Raw News has history of publishing misleading or false articles about well-known public figures, including stories about the U.S. military and false arrests ( here ) ( here ). Reuters has debunked several of their stories in the past ( here ), ( here ), ( here ), ( here ).

The hoax article seems to reflect a recent unfounded narrative that food processing units in the U.S. are being deliberately burnt down to create food shortages, which has been addressed by fact-checkers at Snopes ( here ), PolitiFact ( here) and LeadStories ( here ).


False. Claims that the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was arrested in April 2022 are false, a USDA spokesperson told Reuters. The story originated from a website that has a history of publishing false and misleading stories and that describes itself as containing satire.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work   here.