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Cockroach Eggs in Soft Drink Straws

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Forwarded email warns that dark-colored straws offered with soft drinks in fast food restaurants are likely to contain cockroach eggs or excrement.

Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: Feb. 2008
Status: Dubious


Example #1:
Email contributed by Ed, Feb. 24, 2010:

Subject: FW: CHECK YOUR STRAWS!

Be careful while using straws!!

I ordered a Club Sandwich and a Sprite in a restaurant somewhere. When I finished half of the sandwich I sipped a sprite... But it didn't taste like an ordinary sprite I used to drink. So I sipped once more, but it still tasted the same. It tasted like a sprite mixed with some kind of oil.

I called the clerk and asked him if the sprite was expired... He said it was just delivered today.. So I asked him to taste it. Then he also found that something was wrong with it.

Both of us were wondering for a while. Then I got to look inside the straw. There were a lot of tiny black round things that looked like eggs. So I cut the middle of the straw lengthwise to have a better look... Yuck. There were a lot of tiny black round things in it... I suppose they were eggs of cockroach. About 1000 eggs were there. Then I began to check all the other straws in the straws case one by one. Almost all of them contained black eggs that seemed to be either the cockroach eggs or excretions...

After the incident I began to check all the straws in the restaurants and fast food chains that I had gone to. Almost of all the straws contained the same black eggs. Especially the darker the colors of straws, the more black eggs were found. In black straws, extreme amount of black eggs were found. It was found out that it's because the cockroaches live (hatch eggs and excrete) in the dark places.

* 80% or more restaurants in the malls use red or black colored straws.

SO NEXT TIME.... BE CAUTIOUS... CHECK THE STRAW BEFORE YOU PLACE IT INSIDE THE DRINKS.



Example #2:
Email contributed by Mia T., April 16, 2008:

Fwd: Fw: Fwd: straws in fastfood chains and retaurants - beware!

CAUTION: Dangerous secret in the colored straws

Posted Feb 16, 2008 by Hannie

Horrible story of mine goes back to year 2005 March. I ordered a Club Sandwich and a Sprite in a restaurant somewhere in Manila When I finished half of the sandwich I sipped a sprite. But it didn¡¯t taste like an ordinary sprite I used to drink. So I sipped once more, but it still tasted the same. It tasted like a sprite mixed with some kind of oil. I called the clerk and asked him if the sprite was expired. He said it was just delivered today. So I asked him to taste it. Then he also found that something was wrong with it.

Both of us were wondering for a while. Then I got to look inside the straw.

There were a lot of tiny black round things that looked like eggs. So I cut the middle of the straw lengthwise to have a better look. Yuck. There were a lot of tiny black round things in it. I suppose they were eggs of cockroach. About 1000 eggs were there.

Then I began to check all the other straws in the straws case one by one. Almost all of them contained black eggs that seemed to be either the cockroach eggs or excretions.

After the incident I began to check all the straws in the restaurants and fast food chains that I had gone to. Almost of all the straws contained the same black eggs. Especially the darker the colors of straws, the more black eggs were found.

In black straws, extreme amount of black eggs were found. It was found out that it's because the cockroaches live (hatch eggs and excrete) in the dark places.

Stores | Straws | Amount of germs & cockroach excretion/eggs found

Jolli*** | RED straws | 88.89%

Chowk*** | RED straws | Almost the same as above

Local Restaurants | BLACK straws | 225% above

McD****** | WHITE straws | 0.5%

Starbu*** | Straws covered | 0% with white wrappers


Analysis: Assuming the author of this text is at least partially telling the truth and actually did find some sort of foreign matter in an unwrapped drinking straw, we can be reasonably sure it wasn't cockroach eggs. As I've noted elsewhere, cockroaches don't lay individual eggs; they carry them on their body in a hard sac called an ootheca, from which the larvae ("nymphs") emerge after they're hatched.

Which leaves us with theory number two, namely that the foreign matter consisted of cockroach excrement. Though this isn't beyond the realm of possibility — given an infested restaurant, it's not hard to imagine hungry cockroaches swarming over every exposed surface late at night, depositing feces as they go — one still has to wonder at the amount of foreign matter allegedly found: "About 1,000 eggs [i.e., flecks of feces] were there," the author asserts. That's a lot of insect droppings to find in a single straw.

What's more, in the earlier version of the text the author claims to have found similar amounts of, quote, "germs and cockroach excretion/eggs" in the majority of the straws sampled in at least four different restaurants. This has to be hyperbole, if not an outright lie.


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More cockroach urban legends:

Fear of Licking: Cockroach Eggs on Envelopes
Netlore Archive

Taco Hell: Cockroach Eggs in Tacos
Netlore Archive

Will Cockroaches Inherit the Earth?
Urban Legends Blog, 9 July 2008


Sources and further reading:

Cockroach Facts
Pest Control Solutions, 2010

The Cockroach FAQ
Joseph G. Kunkel, The Cockroach Home Page


Last updated 03/24/10

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