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Bogus Warning - Canned Fruit From Thailand Contaminated With HIV

Outline
Circulating message claims that HIV carriers in Thailand have deliberately contaminated canned fruit in a factory by dripping their blood into the food.

HIV

© Depositphotos.com/amuzica



Brief Analysis
The claims are untrue. The message is just one more in a long series of similar HIV related hoaxes. There are no credible reports about such an incident and the Thai government has denied the contamination rumours. Moreover, because HIV does not live long outside the body, there is virtually no risk of contracting the virus from eating canned food, even if blood from an HIV positive person was added to the can during processing. Sending on such false information serves only to foster myths and misinformation about HIV and is entirely counterproductive.

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Examples
Please do not buy any canned fruits such as rambutans, longan, lychee, puddings and so on from Thailand. More than 200 HIV patients were ordered by their leaders to drip their blood into the canned foods. According to the Thai Government, its Ministry of Health has confirmed this and withdrew canned food. Please share this with family and friends.

Emergency notification: 
Try not to eat canned food especially those canned fruits manufactured from thailand . There were 200 over HIV carriers instructed by their leader to contaminate the products of the canned food factory by their blood. 
The information was confirmed by the government this morning. In order not to let the people get infected after eating, many types of canned food had been removed from the shelves of the supermarkets.such as longgan, lychee, rambutan and mango pudding.
Pls send to people you care. Prevention is better than cure! Pls don't buy canned food from thailand.

Detailed Analysis
According to this message, which has circulated via text messages and social media posts since around August 2013, consumers should avoid eating canned fruit from Thailand because it may be contaminated with HIV. The message claims that more than 200 people with HIV were instructed by an unidentified "leader" to contaminate products in a Thai canned food factory by dripping their blood into the cans.

The message further claims that the Thai Government's Ministry of Health has confirmed the contamination story.

However, the claims in the would-be warning are utter nonsense. There are no credible reports that confirm the claims in the message. Moreover, far from confirming the story, the Thai Government has in fact denied any such incident and debunked the rumours as false.



And, in any case, the claims have no scientific credibility whatsoever. HIV cannot live very long at all outside of the body. Thus, even if a person with HIV had dripped blood into a food product during the canning process, there is virtually no chance that a person who later ate the product would be infected. In an article about HIV transmission, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes:
No incident of food being contaminated with HIV-infected blood or semen has been reported to CDC. Furthermore, CDC has received no reports of HIV infection resulting from eating food, including condiments.

HIV does not live long outside the body. Even if small amounts of HIV-infected blood or semen was consumed, exposure to the air, heat from cooking, and stomach acid would destroy the virus. Therefore, there is no risk of contracting HIV from eating food.

The CDC further explains:
Scientists and medical authorities agree that HIV does not survive well outside the body, making the possibility of environmental transmission remote.
In fact, the false warning is just one in a series of HIV and AIDS related Internet hoaxes that have circulated for years on end.

This version of the hoax is reminiscent of another widespread - and equally untrue - rumour that claimed that a worker had deliberately contaminated various Pepsi products by adding HIV infected blood at a bottling plant. And another variant that has circulated since 2006 falsely claimed that a child had died of AIDS after eating take-away food that contained blood from a cook with HIV. An even earlier version made the false claim that HIV contaminated blood was being deliberately added to ketchup containers in fast-food restaurants.

And a whole set of related rumours have claimed that sinister gangs have been placing HIV contaminated syringes under petrol pumps, on theatre seats and in other strange places.  These rumours also have no substance.

Spreading such lies serves only to cause confusion and alarm and give fuel to the damaging myths that have long circulated about HIV and AIDS. If you receive one of these HIV related hoaxes, please do not pass it on to others. And please take the time to let the sender know that the information in the message is invalid.

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Last updated: October 28, 2013
First published: October 28, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
EMBASSY DEBUNKS RUMOURS OF HIV-TAINTED PRODUCTS
CDC - HIV Transmission
Hoax: HIV Infected Blood In Pepsi
AIDS From Contaminated Take Away Food Warning
HIV Infected Blood in the Ketchup Hoax
Hoax - HIV Needles Hidden Under Gas Pump Handles
HIV Infected Needles on UK Cinema Seats Hoax