A message warning that Appy Fizz causes cancer, eating Mentos post Coca-Cola/Pepsi makes cyanide in your stomach and Kurkure has plastic has been doing the rounds on social media.
The message has seemingly been endorsed by one Dr Anjali Mathur, Chairman & CMO, Indo American Hospital (IAH), South Dakota in the United States, perhaps to add authenticity to the claims made.
Truth or False?
The message is old and has been in circulation since atleast 2015. Plus, it has been repeatedly debunked.
Let’s take each claim on one-by-one.
- Apply Fizz Causes Cancer?
According to an Indian food safety site, Foodnet, Appy Fizz is not a health drink as it is a carbonated soda. However, no link to cancer has been found.
While the soda is not healthy, there is nothing in the ingredients that suggest a strong link to cancer.
Myth-busting site HoaxorFact listed down their ingredients and found the same ones in other sodas as well - nothing stood out as a carcinogen.
However Appy Fizz or its parent company, ParleG, has not issues any official statement yet.
Speaking to FIT, Dr Ashwini Setya, senior gastroenterologist at Max Hospital, said, “Since the ingredients and chemicals used in this fizzy drink have not been disclosed – much like with Pepsi and Coca-Cola where the ingredients remain a mystery – it is very difficult to say if there is a carcinogenic agent or not.”
“Of course, since the whole list of chemicals and oils used are not determined you cannot say with certainty that they cause cancer. This is done without any evidence, if studies were done then the product would have been banned or some action would have been taken. This rumour is causing fear without any evidence.”Dr Ashwini Setya
- Mentos Mixed With Coke Makes Cyanide?
This is an old rumour, sparking many a viral video that showed the ‘volcano’ created on mixing the two products.
While there is a noticeable, chemical reaction observed, mixing the two products does not create cyanide.
First of all, this dangerous phenomenon would have been well-documented and the products would likely be recalled. Secondly, if making cyanide was so easy, it would pose a significant terror threat to people everywhere.
This fake news got so popular that even Discovery’s Mythbusters set out to investigate.
Speaking to Mythbusters, physicist Tonya Coffey said that there is a strong chemical reaction, but not enough to cause any harm to your body.
- Kurkure Has Plastic As An Ingredient?
This is an old rumour, proven false, resurfacing again.
In fact in June 2018, the Delhi High Court granted PepsiCo, the parent company of Kurkure, a motion to ask social media platforms to remove the ‘fake news’ of plastic in their chips.
A PepsiCo spokesperson told Quartz in 2018, “Fake news suggesting that Kurkure has plastic in it has adversely affected brand’s reputation. Due to such fake and defamatory content circulating on the social media, PepsiCo India was constrained to move the Hon’ble Delhi High Court…this step has been taken to protect brand equity, a matter that we take very seriously at PepsiCo.”
Such was the power of this falsehood, that the company was forced to redesign Kurkure’s packaging to more prominently display the ingredients.
“We realised there is a lot of suspense around Kurkure – nobody knew what it was made of. As opposed to say, potato chips. Which is why we have focused on the ingredient story. If you see all our new packaging it has a lot visible ingredient display.”Jagrut Kotecha, vice-president for PepsiCo India’s snacking category to Quartz