by Patricia Salber

Remember the “Twinkie Defense?”  Well, now, PepsiCo has introduced the “Acid Defense.”  Ronald Ball of Wisconsin is suing PepsiCo, manufacturer of Mountain Dew because, he claims, he ingested (and spat out) a dead mouse after drinking from a can of the neon-yellow soda purchased from a vending machine.

I am kind of surprised PepsiCo didn’t settle this as Ball, isn’t asking for that much money (~$50,o00).  But they didn’t.  Instead they asked for dismissal of the case citing testimony from an expert who claims that “acid used when the drink is bottled would have caused the rodent to transform into a “jelly-like’ substance.”   OMG.  Run that by me again.

Several questions come to mind after reading this story:  Will The Acid Defense” become as famous as the Twinkie Defense?  But a even more important question for PepsiCo is whether giving Ball some fraction of the $50k he wanted would have been more cost effective than having a story like this go viral?

According to the Huffington Post, “Mountain Dew’s mouse-dissolving capabilities may also helped by another ingredient in the bubbly beverage: brominated vegetable oil (BVO) a chemical that Gizmodo points out is banned in Europe and Japan, but is allowed in limited quantities in sodas like Mountain Dew, Squirt and Fanta Orange.”  (Fanta Orange…now that is another interesting drink.  I once spilled some Fanta on a white table and permanently stained it orange – even Ajax couldn’t scrub it out!

Since this is a health blog and not a legal blog, I feel compelled to ask one more thing – just why is it that we are drinking this stuff anyway?




Patricia Salber MD, MBA (@docweighsin)
Patricia Salber, MD, MBA is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Doctor Weighs In. She is also the CEO of Health Tech Hatch, the sister site of TDWI that helps innovators tell their stories to the world. She is also a physician executive who has worked in all aspects of healthcare including practicing emergency physician, health plan executive, consultant to employers, CMS, and other organizations. She is a Board Certified Internist and Emergency Physician who loves to write about just about anything that has to do with healthcare.


  1. I’ll weigh in, in the past here have been many rumors of coca cola, cleaning for instance makes a myth that while coca cola has acid it’s concentrate is too low, to Mike he should know that the citric acid is present in everyday fruits and hazardous to teeth, in fact while coca cola has phosphoric acid which is controversial, the dew has citric, a few varieties have actual orange juice, the myths including dissolve a tooth, while I can’t judge pepsi’s claims as true or false, would the can dissolve itself or even plastics?


All comments are moderated. Please allow at least 1-2 days for it to display.