Pepsi AIDS Alert: Worker Adds HIV-Positive Blood to Pepsi-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

SMS messages warn consumers not to drink Pepsi products for the next couple weeks because a worker who’s HIV-positive added his blood to the company’s products.

The Truth:

False warnings about Pepsi products being contaminated with the blood of a worker who has AIDS or HIV have been circulating for years, but there’s never been any truth to them.

It’s not clear where these false AIDS Pepsi warnings started. Variations of it have circulated in the U.K., India, Asia and Africa — and they all follow the same general format: an HIV-positive Pepsi worker added their blood to Pepsi products during the bottling process. This broken (rough translated) version surfaced in Asia in 2009:

“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…..ok. Please note seriously.”

Different versions of the false warning have been debunked all over the world. In 2011, Pepsi representatives in Asia debunked the above version. Pepsi uses a hands free production process (eliminating the risk for contamination), the rep noted, and AIDS is impossible through food and drink products, Asia News Network reports:

“This SMS started circulating in India in July and even there, no one believed it,” she said yesterday.

The SMS reads:
Hemalatha said Pepsi products were produced according to the strictest safety standards and were safe for consumption.

“It is scientifically proven that HIV cannot be transmitted via food or drinks anyway,” she said, adding that different versions of the same rumour had made the rounds before.

A few years later, a new version of the Pepsi AIDS warning surfaced in the United Kingdom. That version, which singled out Pepsi products in particular, is the one that has been most widely circulated in English-speaking countries:

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.
And even if these claims were true, like the Pepsi rep noted above, it’s not possible to transmit AIDS or HIV through food or drink As we previously reported in our investigation into (false) claims that blood oranges had been laced with HIV-positive blood, the nonprofit Aid for AIDS describes the threat as nonexistent:
“HIV is a very fragile virus outside of the body. The HIV virus needs the human body as its host. The life span of HIV outside of the body has not been determined. However, we know that HIV needs its host cell (a human), the body temperature, and the chemistry of the blood to survive. Out of the body, HIV is out of its environment. As the blood dries, the HIV will die. In areas like a syringe or on a razor in a medicine cabinet, HIV would probably live longer because of less airflow and it’s a more moist temperature controlled area.

“Just remember, outside of the body HIV can’t survive. In minutes it will die and be harmless, but Universal Precautions should always be used.”

Given all that, we’re calling this one “fiction.”

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Collected on: 08/23/2017

urgent forward note: important msg from hyderabad police to all over india: for the next few weeks do not drink any soft drink like maaza, cococola, pepsi, mountain dew, sprite as a worker from one of these company has added his blood contaminated with ebola virus . it ws shown yesterday on ndtv… pls forward this msg urgently to people you care… take care!! share it as much as u can. ❌ please pass it on to your families in india

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.
urgent and imp msgs for all please fwd this to all of them for whom you care, Msg: For next few days dont drink any product from pepsi company like pepsi. slice,Tropicana juice, 7 up etc as a worker from the companys production dept has added his blood contiminated with Aids (HIV +ve) Watch Ndtv for more news