If you have a weak stomach, feel free to skip this story. In November of 2009, Ronald Ball of Wisconsin purchased a can of Mountain Dew from a vending machine. Ball claims he took a swig from the can, felt ill, and poured out the contents of the can to find a mouse carcass. As Ball’s story goes, he sent the mouse to PepsiCo at their request, and they destroyed the evidence. He’s now suing PepsiCo. The story was first reported by MadisonRecord.com in July 2010.
Though the lawsuit has been unfolding for more than a year, it’s just now gaining mainstream publicity due to PepsiCo’s stomach-churning defense. Experts for PepsiCo argue that Ball’s claim must be false because after 30 days in a can of Mountain Dew, the mouse would have morphed into a “jelly-like” substance due to the acidic content of Mountain Dew.
The response of most outlets has been something along the lines of “If Mountain Dew can eat away the carcass of a mouse, what is it doing to the inside of your body?” There are many reasons not to drink Mountain Dew and soft drinks in general (one of which I wrote about yesterday) but their acidity levels is one of the least causes for concern.
Mountain Dew’s acidic quality is probably due to concentrated orange juice and citric acid — the only natural ingredients it has. Many natural, healthy foods and drinks are acidic. Yes, soft drinks can disintegrate bones and teeth, but that’s why we brush our teeth and don’t gargle with them. A healthy human body is used to ingesting acidic substances. In fact, our own stomach acid has a pH of 2.00 as compared with Mountain Dew’s 3.22. As this pH chart shows, lime, lemon, and cranberry juice are more acidic than most soft drinks. While soft drinks tend to hover at the top of the chart, other fruit juices, teas, and coffee are distributed throughout.
I hate to say this, but a mouse carcass in a variety of citrus juices would probably meet the same “jelly-like” fate. That doesn’t mean you should give up your daily glass of orange juice.
Now PepsiCo is no angel. Shame on PepsiCo for destroying evidence. When you’re the defendant, no evidence is probably best, regardless of innocence or guilt, since our justice system requires proof beyond reasonable doubt and a lack of evidence creates doubt. Still, if Ball is lying, PepsiCo could probably have won this case without resorting to destruction of evidence. Though it seems unlikely to me that an in-tact mouse made its way into a can of Mountain Dew, PepsiCo’s destruction of evidence makes me wonder.
Their defense regarding the disintegration of the mouse, however, is a legitimate explanation that does seem to debunk Ball’s claims. PepsiCo is savvy enough not to admit something incriminating — acidic content is not incriminating.
Disagree? Leave a comment!