© 2012 Nancy Appleton PhD and G.N. Jacobs
Those of you that may have already read our book Killer Colas may remember that we asserted that drinking soda is much like drinking battery acid. You may also remember that we tried several times to replicate a demonstration from Mr. Jacobs’ youth where freshly pulled teeth from a nearby dentist where the teeth dissolved in Coke within about a week and a half or thereabouts. Suffice it to say the teeth didn’t dissolve and we gave up.
In the book, we did present rumors and other assertions from news that the phosphoric acid in most soda brands could be used for all kinds of non-drinking uses like degreasing engine blocks and in one case from India was an amazingly effective pesticide. But, we had to pass these reports on as less than fully confirmed because the articles we based them on were either not found in the mountain of research material used for the book or came from dubious sources. Now we have lawyers and experts from Pepsi on record about the acidity of at least one soda: Mountain Dew.
In 2009, an Illinois man bought a soda at the local convenience store. He pops the top and finds a mouse in the can. After experiencing what might have been an entertaining Ick Dance (at least to the disinterested who got unadulterated sodas), the gentlemen in question performs as expected of the average American and sues everybody even remotely related to this disgusting experience, including Pepsi.
Part of the suit alleges that the soda company willfully took the mouse for testing it and then not returning the carcass to the plaintiff in a condition unusable for court or independent testing. So far this sounds like the normal sort of skullduggery that goes on every day when these kinds of lawsuits finally make it onto the schedule. Maybe Pepsi destroyed the evidence. Maybe the plaintiff is sweetening his case with an exaggeration. The jury will split the baby as the saying goes. Currently, the case is at an advanced pretrial stage discussing last minute motions and such.
But, what is really interesting from the point of view of health writers is what Pepsi’s people just recently said trying not to give the plaintiff money, whether the $325,000 filed against Pepsi, the convenience store and store employees, or the reported $50,000 still on the table after the plaintiff’s lawyers clearly advised him to keep his eyes on the prize: Pepsico’s deep pockets. The defense strategy: the plaintiff could not have encountered the alleged dead rodent because the acid in the soda would have dissolved the body in the time between bottling and sale.
Apparently, the can was bottled in 2008 and sold in November 2009 according to court documents. Pepsi’s expert testified that the mouse would not have been found in the solid state with soft tissue intact because the year interval would have turned the mouse into a “jelly-like substance.” No assertions in court documents were made to assert tampering after being bottled. Also, no mention was made if said jelly would have still made for an unpleasant drinking experience worthy of earning a settlement.
You heard it here, there and maybe everywhere that the acid in soda is one of many reasons to stop drinking soda. Though we must admit that the possibility that on a particular production day in 2008 a dead mouse escaped both the Pepsico and the local government health inspection processes ranks almost as high.