According to urban legend, a tooth left in a glass of Coke will dissolve overnight, and American highway sanitation patrols use cola syrup to clean blood off the asphalt. These aren't exactly true (Coca Cola is actually less acidic than scandal-free orange juice), but "Cokelore" has led to some really great DIY science experiments by worried parents.
Still, the truth about Coke is not exactly reassuring. This week, China Weekly reported that certain Coke products were tainted with chlorine meant for cleaning. The accidentally-chlorinated beverages have been recalled, but cynical Chinese microbloggers on Sina Weibo won't let go of the scandal that easily. They're fed up with food scares:
"Don't forget to drink Coke when you're eating shoes!"
"After some gutter oil, you eat a pair of shoes and drink a bottle of Coca Cola with chlorine.
It reminds me of an advertisement: 'Disinfect your intestines!' "
"Today it's so hot, I bought a bottle of Coke.
阿叁 said, 'Don't you know that Coca Cola is poisonous?'
And I said, 'How could I live in China if I weren't able to handle a little poison?"
Coca Cola Corporation has never had a perfect relationship with the Chinese public. When it first broke into the local market, the name "Coca Cola" was initially transliterated into various unappetizing Chinese phrases like, "bite the wax tadpole", "female horse fastened with wax", and "wax-flattened mare" (the character for "wax" is pronounced "la", as in "Co-la").
Last year, an 11-year old died in Changchun after drinking another Coke product called "Pulpy Milk".
Text: Caitlin Hu