Mountain Dew and Mice? EXPERIMENT TIME!

I read this news article on Pepsi’s defense of a man who claimed to have found a mouse in his can of Mountain Dew.

Pepsi Co., facing a lawsuit from a man who claims to have found a mouse in his Mountain Dew can, has an especially creative, if disgusting, defense: their soda would have dissolved a dead mouse before the man could have found it. An Illinois man sued Pepsi in 2009 after he claims he “spat out the soda to reveal a dead mouse,” the Madison County Record reports. He claims he sent the mouse to Pepsi, which then “destroyed” the remains after he allowed them to test it, according to his complaint. Most shudder-worthy, however, is that Pepsi’s lawyers also found experts to testify, based on the state of the remains sent to them, that “the mouse would have dissolved in the soda had it been in the can from the time of its bottling until the day the plaintiff drank it,” according to the Record. (It would have become a “jelly-like substance,” according to Pepsi, adds LegalNewsline.) This seems like a winning-the-battle-while-surrendering-the-war kind of strategy that hinges on the argument that Pepsi’s product is essentially a can of bright green/yellow battery acid. The lawyers still appear to be lawyering behind the scenes but we cannot wait for this to come to trial (though we think a trial is about as likely as the chances of us “Doing the Dew” ever again).

When I read this, the only thing I could think was:

Experiment time!

 

I’m thinking of an experiment: get some mice (should I get prekilled ones or kill them humanely myself?) and put them in several different mason jars filled with liquid.

For a mouse to have fallen out of a Mountain Dew can spout the mouse must have been very small, probably a pinkie baby mouse.  Just to be thorough, I could do this experiment with pinkie mice and adult mice.

1. Mason Jar with mouse and Mountain Dew.

2. Mason jar with mouse and plain water.

3. Mason jar with mouse, water and lemon juice to match the PH balance of Mountain Dew.

4. Mason jar with mouse, water, sugar and lemon juice, again to match PH.

Fill the jars to capacity, drop in mouse, shake up, close, cover in a dark place and see what happens.

I love mountain dew and drink it every day. Is that a conflict of interest?

 

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

About christinastephens
  • Drakk

    If mountain dew is actually “bright green/yellow battery acid” you’re going to have a hell of a time matching its pH with lemon juice…

  • unbound

    They actually used the same argument when there were needles found in some Pepsi cans in the early 90s. People were concerned that the needles could be contaminated with something, to which Pepsi corporate responded that nobody should worry since anything that may have been on the needle would have been destroyed by the acid in the soda.

    Not sure anybody tested that out back then either…

  • Pteryxx

    …I LOVE IT. *hurk*

    Seriously, you should totally do this and make a blog post out of it, then a summary video that will go viral, make you famous, and either get you an endorsement from Mythbusters or a lifetime supply of Mtn Dew. It can’t go wrong!

    also, I suggest getting pre-killed mice from a reputable dealer, such as a local store’s feeder supply, that you can ensure euthanizes them properly. Some of the frozen mouse suppliers… let’s just say I don’t trust them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

    Oh believe me, I’m serious. This WILL happen.

    “If mountain dew is actually “bright green/yellow battery acid” you’re going to have a hell of a time matching its pH with lemon juice…”

    I also wonder why it hasn’t eaten away at my teeth yet if it’s battery acid. I actually have great teeth, my dentist always freaks when I tell him how much soda I drink. Genetics.

  • http://www.literateperversions.com Chris Hall

    I think that your premise that the mouse came through the pipes and must therefore be a pinkie is flawed. The cans themselves sit around for a very long time without the tops, so the mouse could have crawled in while they were sitting on the flats, died, and then been sealed in when they put the top on the can.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      Actually my premise is based on the claim that the man poured the mouse out of the can.

      • Pteryxx

        If the mouse was partly jellied, it may well have poured out of the can, more or less. As long as the skull and/or lumps of matted fur fit through.

  • Nomen Nescio

    or alternatively, just get a decent digital pH meter and find out for sure how acidic the stuff is. “battery acid” may be exaggerating, but probably by less than you’d think.

    • Pteryxx

      http://www.21stcenturydental.com/smith/pH_drinks.htm

      Lists battery acid as pH 1.0, stomach acid as pH 2.0, lemon juice as 2.0-2.6, and Mountain Dew as 3.22. (While 5.5 is sufficient to demineralize teeth.)

      It’d still be good to test the pH of the mouse cans, especially at start vs. end. It WILL change as mice dissolve into it.

      • Nomen Nescio

        if given only one can of soda, then the existing assumption that it’d have to be a pretty small mouse sounds ever more credible.

        pH 3.2 … yeah, that’d be enough to dissolve at least parts of it. the whole of it? maybe not, and i agree, i’d love to see pH readings of the can of soda both pre- and post-rodent.

        and my own preferred poison, pepsi, weighs in at 2.5. i think i’ll start drinking more coffee for my caffeine rushes. or switch to barq’s, the one coke product i actually like…

      • Pteryxx

        Whoops, I forgot to cite the actual research on soda pH values:

        http://www.agd.org/support/articles/?ArtID=923

        Pardon me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

    I going out to get mice later today. FOR SCIENCE!

    • Kate from Iowa

      Hey, get corn syrup too please? For those of us in areas that don’t get the Mountain Dew with sugar?

      Although…depending on what this shows, I may stop drinking soda entirely…

      • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

        Okie dokie! Corn syrup it is…

  • fredbloggs

    Have you no compassion? THINK OF THE MICE!!!

  • rob

    you can go to most pet stores and buy frozen mice and rats for lizard feeding. my snake likes thawed out ratcicles.

  • http://teachingsapiens.wordpress.com Robert B

    I love it. One important detail, hair doesn’t break down in acid. Hairless pinkies won’t leave a fur residue, but a juvenile or adult would.

    The mouth of a bottle is more than large enough for an adult mouse to attempt to get in. Mice are curious and would look for food or shelter and could end up falling into a bottle. However, baby mice don’t have much ability to wander off on their own, so I would suspect a juvenile or adult is the most likely suspect if the story is true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

    Leaving now to run some errands and pick up some furry friends. I will thank them for their contributions to science.

  • Mike

    Regarding chemistry:

    While this might be a fun experiment, I wouldn’t draw *any* conclusions from it without consulting a chemist. In particular the lemon juice controls might be really misleading data points. Simply matching the starting pH of a solution doesn’t mean much once you start dissolving mice into it, as different acid mixtures will be buffered differently.

    In addition, you don’t want to leave too much air space in the mason jars, since that will allow more fizz to come out of solution before reaching equilibrium. The CO2 dissolved in the liquid forms carbonic acid and you probably don’t want to lose lots of that, though I don’t know how significant it is next to all the citric acid. Anyway, since you also don’t want to deviate from 12 fl. oz. of Dew, that means you’d need to fill the balance with inert things, like glass or plastic.

    Disclaimer: I’m not a chemist, but I enjoyed the courses I took.

  • Pingback: Experimentation with Mt. Dew « The Nerd Chef

  • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

    Tomorrow… There shall be pictures of what has transpired here at my home with these mice…

    • Kate from Iowa

      Yay! Science is best when it makes you go “…eeeeewwwww!”

  • LadyBlack

    Science is holding its breath……

    I’m trying to hold onto my breakfast after reading this. I never thought I’d be grateful for my diabetes, but it means I stopped drinking most fizzy drinks some seven years ago.

    Mind you…..would the same thing happen with a sugar free drink? I have no idea what the PH value would be, but I thought that the sugar was what upped the acidic levels.

    • Kate from Iowa

      Sugar acids, citric acid, carbonic acid…pick your poison!

      It’ll be really interesting to see what happens, won’t it!

    • Pteryxx

      Mind you…..would the same thing happen with a sugar free drink? I have no idea what the PH value would be, but I thought that the sugar was what upped the acidic levels.

      According to the study I cited above, the diet versions of drinks run 0.5 to 0 pH points higher (less acidic) than the sugared versions do. I suspect that’s because the artificial sweeteners are less effective at screening the sour acid taste than sugar is, so the companies have tweaked the formula to compensate.

      I TA’d a class introducing the concept of pH to freshman college students. I had them just bring in whatever drinks they happened to have in their hands that morning – soda, energy drinks, coffee, orange juice, milk, water – and showed them how to use pH strips. As I recall (my notes might be buried in a box somewhere) the diet sodas were just as acidic as the sugared ones (and close to lemon juice and dilute acetic acid). Coffee and energy drinks were less acidic, milk and water neutral-ish. IIRC, the orange juice drink was milder than the coffee… it probably didn’t have much actual juice.

      The students were shocked and fascinated. Several of them said they’d been taught the SUGAR made a drink acidic, or the caffeine. (Caffeine-free soda had the same acidity.) When I was in school, we were told the same thing, mostly as an excuse to ban soda.

  • LadyBlack

    Ah, now that’s interesting. Please could you tell me then, why I don’t have any problems with my teeth now that I have switched to sugar free drinks? I mean, part of that is obviously that I no longer suck sugar laden sweets, which surely would have had a major acidic value, but I do consume some diet soda drinks like Ginger beer and Bitter lemon (maybe they have less sweetner than Mountain Dew?) and I do have lots of sweetner in puddings. And I now eat ‘sugar free’ sweets, and if we’re talking the hard boiled ones, they should have enough chemical sweetner to be as harmful as the sugar ones.

    I was assuming that it was because of lower sugar consumption, but this seems not be the case. I was very relaxed about my teeth, but I’m now worried again – maybe they are all due to fall out at the same time in the future!

    And I presume you were testing American diet sodas – which may or may not have any relevance.

  • joey

    and by all means, post your experiments videos on youtube!

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  • Misc.

    Wow, honestly, experimenting on live mice is now considered animal cruelty? What kind of wimpy pathetic world do we live in? Mice feed off each other as well as rats and also rats eat mice in the wild on a daily basis. It’s just part of their natural diet as omnivores. I’ve even done a test with putting a mouse into a rats cage that had an available balance diet of other meats, cheese, and vegetables. Despite have readily available alternative foods then the mouse the rat still choose to kill the mouse and feast on it’s carcase for nutrients. It was not out of territorial issues or the rat would of just killed the mouse and not ate it but the rat couldn’t seem to get enough of the mouse meat. It’s not animal cruelty it’s nature you over-sensitive people. You are all pathetic hypocrites as I’m sure you’ve all step on some bug or an other and killed it. It’s sad how people can pick and choose where they view something to be cruel and run others down about it while they are doing things that other may see as cruel. I think most people out there need to stop being so immature and learn to think more with logic then compassion. Compassion bent people are the exact kind of people that would refuse to allow 1 person to die in order to save millions of people and feel justified and great about them self that they saved that one person meanwhile millions of others had to suffer and die just because the compassion bent person is focused on the individual they are attached to.

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