Image: © abpmedia/depositphotos.com
This story was first published on July 19, 2011
According to a series of breathless warnings that have been circulating since at least 2011, a worker at Pepsi has been deliberately contaminating bottles of the popular beverage with his own HIV infected blood.
Example of the message:
Important message from Metropolitan Police to all citizen of United Kingdom. For the next few weeks do not drink any products from Pepsi, as a worker from the company has added his blood contaminated with HIV (AIDS). It was shown yesterday on Sky News. Please forward this message to the people who you care.
Claims are False — Message is a Hoax
However, the claims in the warnings are untrue. The supposed contamination did not happen.
If true, such a story would have been extensively reported by news outlets all around the world. And, of course, any potentially contaminated batches of Pepsi would have now been recalled. But, in fact, there are no credible news reports whatsoever that confirm the claims in the warning. Nor are there any recalls of Pepsi products due to potential HIV blood contamination.
One widely circulated version features a picture of a man being escorted by police and has the caption This is the guy who added his infected blood to pepsi. But, in fact, the image depicts a terrorist arriving in Nigeria with police who extradited him from Sudan. The pictured terrorist was the mastermind of a deadly bombing, but he did not contaminate any Pepsi products with HIV infected blood. Apparently, someone stole the image from a news site in a lame attempt to add weight to the spurious contamination claims.
One Version Among a Series of Similar HIV Contamination Hoaxes
These bogus Pepsi HIV warnings are just more incarnations of a long-running hoax that has falsely claimed that HIV infected blood has been added to various foodstuffs.
Back in 2004, an emailed warning claimed that a man had been caught placing HIV contaminated blood in ketchup dispensers at fast-food outlets. This hoax subsequently spawned several other ketchup or tomato sauce related variants in the years since.
And in 2006, another series of hoax messages wrongly claimed that a child was diagnosed with AIDS after eating contaminated take away food prepared by an HIV positive cook who had cut his finger and bled while working in the kitchen.
Not one of the claims outlined in any of these fake warning messages has ever been confirmed or supported by any credible source.
HIV Cannot Spread in the Way Described
Moreover, the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that it has never received any reports of HIV infections caused by contaminated food. The CDC also points out that a person would not become infected even if they did consume food or drink that contained HIV infected blood:
In an article about HIV transmission, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes:
You can’t get HIV from consuming food handled by an HIV-infected person. Even if the food contained small amounts of HIV-infected blood or semen, exposure to the air, heat from cooking, and stomach acid would destroy the virus.
The CDC further explains:
HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host.
Thus, sending on such warnings will help no one and will achieve nothing other than clutter inboxes and social networks with even more utterly pointless nonsense.
Other versions of the Pepsi HIV contamination hoax:
There’s news from the police. Its an urgent message for all. For next few days don’t drink any product from pepsi company’s like pepsi, slice, 7up etc. A worker from the company has added his blood contaminated with AIDS.. Watch MDTV dstv channel 413. please forward this to everyone on your list.
Important message….for d next few days, do not drink any product from pepsi company like pepsi, tropicana juice, slice, 7up , coca cola, etc,,as a worker from the company has added his blood contaminated with HIV. watch NDtv …please 4ward this 2 every 1 u care about…..please spread!
ALERT: JUST HEARD A PEPSI WORKER WHO AS INFECTED WITH HIV WAS PUTTING HIS INFECTED BLOOD INTO THE DAMN POP’S WHILE WORKING IN THE WARE HOUSE AND HE WAS EMPLOYED THERE FOR 5 YEARS! NASTY BASTARD NO MORE PEPSI FOR ME! SMDH PEOPLE)
To all my fellow facebook friends n family please do not drink pepsi from tha bottles a company worker has put his contaminated HIV blood in some of tha bottles thanks
Dont drink the pepsi products they are contaminated from blood from a HIV person