Food and Drink
Asparagus and Cancer
Emailed article attributed to a biochemist offers medical case histories collected with the help of alleged cancer expert "Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S." purporting to prove that eating asparagus may prevent and/or cure cancer.
AIDS / HIV+ Blood in Ketchup Dispensers
Viral alert warns fast food consumers to use only ketchup from sealed packets because a man was supposedly caught placing HIV-tainted blood in restaurant ketchup dispensers.
Aspartame (NutraSweet) Warning
"Rabidly inaccurate" email flyer dating from 1995 alleging that the artificial sweetener known as aspartame or NutraSweet is the cause of virtually every malady known to humankind.
Bacon Diet Coke
Viral image purports to show the packaging of a new Coca-Cola product named "Diet Coke with Bacon."
Bar Codes Reveal Where a Product Is Made
Forwarded email claims potentially hazardous products made in China can be identified by examining the first three digits of the bar code on the packaging, which supposedly indicate the country of origin.
Baby Carrots Warning
Email flier warns that baby carrots sold in supermarkets pose a health risk because they're processed in chlorine.
Atlanta Restaurant Closed for Serving Rats, Mice, etc. as Food
Email hoax claims an "Asian/Chinese" restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia was recently closed by authorities for offering dishes made of rats, mice, kittens and puppies.
Chicken Head Found in Box of McDonald's Wings
This week's most frequently asked question: 'Is the chicken head story true?' This week's most frequently given answer: Apparently so. Let's see what develops.
Biscuits for Brains
POP goes the Pillsbury Dough Boy!
Capri Sun Mold Warning
Viral image shows a glob of mold found in a pouch of Capri Sun fruit drink in Feb. 2013. Similar incidents have been reported before.
Canola Oil - Hazardous to Your Health?
This email tale claims that canola, usually touted as one of the healthiest of food oils, is actually toxic to human beings.
Cockroach Eggs in Soft Drink Straws
Forwarded email warns that dark-colored straws offered with soft drinks in fast food restaurants are likely to contain cockroach eggs or excrement.
Cockroach Egg Tacos
What? A woman became sick after dining on a taco or burrito infested with cockroach eggs?? Calm down, it's only an urban legend.
Diner Contracts Syphilis at Olive Garden Restaurant
Forwarded email claims a female diner contracted syphilis after eating a meal contaminated with 'three different types of semen' at the Olive Garden restaurant in West Des Moines, Iowa
Cook an Egg with Your Cell Phone!
Forwarded messages offer scientific proof that you can cook an egg by placing it between two cell phones and placing a call.
Dead Frog Found in Can of Kroger Peas
Irate consumer complains in forwarded email about finding a tiny dead frog inside a can of Kroger peas. True, with photo documentation!
The Death of Little Mikey (Pop Rocks and Soda)
Did the actor who played 'Mikey' in Life cereal commercials during the early '70s die as a result of consuming Pop Rocks and a carbonated soft drink at the same time?
Don't Drink Bottled Water Kept in Car
Forwarded email warns women not to drink bottled water that has been left in a car because the heat supposedly releases cancer-causing toxins which "leak" from the plastic into the water.
Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) Safety Warning
"Dihydrogen monoxide [otherwise known as water] is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year..."
Do They Eat Babies in China?
Photos circulated on the Internet seem to prove that human infants are eaten in China. Are they real? (Not for the faint of heart!)
Forwarded email claims Pyrex dishes manufactured in the U.S. during the past 25 years may break or "explode" during use due to changes in its formulation.
Folk Remedies for Hangover
Prairie oysters and hair of the dog – how to "cure" that New Year's Eve hangover.
Drinking Cold Water with Meals Causes Cancer
Email flier claims drinking cold water after a meal slows down digestion and coats the intestines with 'sludge,' leading to cancer.
Drug-Laced Suckers/Lollipops a Threat to Children
Email flier purporting to originate from the North Little Rock Police Department warns parents that drug-laced candy in the form of suckers and lollipops pose a hazard to children and teenagers.
Fry and Fry Again (Where Pringles Potato Chips Really Come From)
Dear Guide: My mom got suckered - she was told (and believed) that Pringles potato chips are made from McDonald's unsold fries...
Rumor: AIDS / HIV+ Blood in Pepsi Cola
Contaminated Pepsi? Rumor circulating via text message and social media claims Pepsi products have been contaminated with HIV-positive blood.
The Great Internet Banana Scare of 2000
An email hoax circulating since early January 2000 and claiming that bananas imported from Costa Rica carry the deadly disease known as necrotizing fasciitis continues to incite fear amongst Internet users
Is a crop of fruit spreading the deadly disease necrotizing fasciitis around the world?
Hold the Mayo!
Dear Guide: I have heard a story doing the rounds and want to know if you think it's based on any fact at all. I must admit it does smell of 'urban legend.'
Hydrogen Beer Explosion
Japanese man suffers serious burns while belching blue fire in karaoke bar!
Kopi Luwak: Good to the Last Dropping
The straight poop on Kopi Luwak (AKA Kopi Luak), a pungent specialty coffee 'processed' through the digestive tract of a small Indonesian animal known as the palm civet.
I Like My Pizza Without the 'P'
A tasty banquet of correspondence from the urban legends mailroom. Topic: food contamination. Yum!
Lemons and Cancer
Forwarded email claims the humble lemon is a "miraculous product" that kills cancer cells and has been proven "10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy."
Lemon Slices Pose Health Risk in Restaurants
New study finds that lemon slices/wedges served as garnishes in restaurants are often contaminated with health-threatening fecal bacteria.
Leftover Onions Are Poisonous
Forwarded email claims that uncooked, leftover onions are "poisonous" because they're "a huge magnet for bacteria," therefore especially prone to spoilage.
Leptospirosis: Woman Catches Deadly Disease from Unwashed Coke Can
False email rumor claims a woman in North Texas (or Belgium, or Botswana, etc.) caught the deadly disease leptospirosis after drinking Coke straight from an unwashed can contaminated with dried rat urine.
Man Puts HIV Blood in Tomato Sauce Dispenser
Forwarded email claims that a man was caught putting HIV-positive blood into a ketchup or tomato sauce dispenser at a fast food restaurant.
This controversial site purported to sell "high quality human meat" products, but, like the similarly provocative Bonsai Kitten Website, ManBeef.com was just an elaborate prank designed to push people's emotional buttons.
Maggots in Oreos
Emailed photos purport to show an infestation of maggots or insect eggs in the cream filling of an Oreo cookie.
McDonald's Importing South American Beef
This chain letter calls on American consumers to boycott McDonald's because the burger chain has allegedly begun importing "much of its beef" from South America.
McDonald's Is the World's Largest Purchaser of Cow Eyeballs
Dear Urban Legends: Is McDonald's the world's largest purchaser of cow eyeballs?
Is McDonald's the world's largest purchaser of cow eyeballs, or have we been fed another fast food urban legend?
The McPus Sandwich
Hold the mayo!!
Mountain Dew as Contraceptive
A shocking bit of misinformation has captured the hearts and minds of high school and college students of late - the notion that the popular American soft drink Mountain Dew can be used as a contraceptive.
Mentos + Coca-Cola = Death
Email rumor claims two boys in Brazil died after eating Mentos and drinking Coca-Cola at the same time.
Mechanically Separated Chicken
A viral image purportedly showing the manufacture of mechanically separated chicken, a thick, pink paste made by mechanically stripping poultry off the bone and forcing it through a sieve.
Mouse Fried Rice (Photo)
Viral image of what appears to be a newborn mouse in a take-out carton of fried rice has been associated with Chinese restaurants in the U.S. and elsewhere.
The Neiman Marcus / Mrs. Fields Cookie Recipe
Here is a 'true story' almost everyone has heard by now - the infamous $250 Cookie Recipe, most recently associated with the Neiman Marcus company, but previously (during the 1980s) the bane of cookie diva Mrs. Fields
Pirate's Gold Milk Chocolate Coins - Melamine Contamination Warning
TRUE: Sherwood Brands Pirate's Gold Milk Chocolate Coins imported from China may contain deadly melamine and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has warned the public not to eat, distribute or sell the candy.
The Package of Cookies
A traveler is aghast when an indigent sits down next to him in an airport waiting area and (apparently) begins filching cookies from the package he has just bought.
The Pregnant Turkey
For a Thanksgiving laugh, mom stuffs a roast turkey with a cornish game hen as a practical joke on her naive daughter.
Rat Droppings/Urine on Soda Can Cause Hawaiian Man's Death
A plausible scenario given the right circumstances, but did this incident really happen?
Sour Spray Candy Warning
Forwarded email recounts an incident in which a child experienced a laryngospasm (involuntary closure of the larynx, obstructing breathing) after drinking sour spray candy directly from the container.
Do fast food chains sometimes substitute ground worms for beef in their hamburgers to cut costs?
Square Watermelons (Photos)
Authentic: Emailed pictures of square watermelons grown in special tempered glass cases by Japanese farmers.
Tim Hortons Coffee Contains Nicotine
Email rumor claims Tim Hortons Coffee contains nicotine and poses a danger to smokers or those who are allergic to nicotine.
The Vodka Tampon 'Craze'
According to media reports going back more than a decade, getting drunk by means of vodka-soaked tampons inserted into bodily orifices is the latest "teen trend."
A Tootsie Pop Mystery
Though it has never had a basis in fact, kids are still buying into a 60-year-old rumor that Tootsie Pop candies with a special "Indian chief" wrapper are redeemable for free products. Why?
Who's Afraid of Spotted Dick?
British shoppers, apparently. A supermarket chain is considering renaming the classic dessert in hopes of improving sales.
Woman Claims to Find Human Finger in Bowl of Wendy's Chili
A woman dining at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose, California says she got the shock of her life when she realized the odd-shaped piece of meat she had just bitten into was a human finger.
Is Coca-Cola an effective spermicide? Did it get its name from the fact that cocaine was one of its original ingredients? Things go better with the truth!
Does Spam Taste Like Human Flesh?
Who but Cecil Adams could definitively answer this perennial puzzler? See the second item on the page.
Kentucky Fried Rat
The question is, how did it make its way out of the Coke bottle and into the deep fat fryer?
Old Wives' Tales
Just how long should you wait after eating a meal before you go swimming?
Prunes in Dr Pepper?
Nah... but hardly anyone knows exactly what the soft drink is flavored with.
Trick or Treat
A report from the Urban Legends Reference Pages on Halloween candy tampering.
Halal Meat in U.S. Supermarkets
Forwarded email urges consumers to avoid halal meat products sold in U.S. supermarkets, claiming they are processed in plants "notorious" for "filth and uncleanliness."