Is Capriccio Sangria Spreading HIV?
One of many hoaxes involving the claim that a common food product has somehow become contaminated with HIV.
Capriccio Bubbly Sangria beverages are contaminated with HIV.
In May 2018, the Capriccio Bubbly Sangria beverage generated a good deal of publicity online and in news coverage, drawing frequent comparisons to Four Loko as well as speculation about its ingredients and rumored effects on consumers:
One of the most prominent rumors about the beverage involved a supposed screen shot from an alleged news report aired by Chicago television station WFLD (Fox 32 Chicago) stating that Capriccio Sangria was “spreading HIV worldwide”:
We (Snopes) found no evidence that WFLD, or any other legitimate news organization, aired such a report. This image appears to be a digitally doctored one in which a fake chyron was overlaid onto a screenshot of an ordinary Fox News/WFLD report about the drink’s sudden popularity.
The Capriccio Sangria rumor is just the latest entry in a long string of hoaxes positing that various food items have been contaminated with HIV. As we often note, such rumors fail the reality check that HIV would not survive in this type of environment long enough to pose a real danger to unwitting consumers:
Hoax: Beware of HIV-infected oranges
One joke got out of hand while a false declaration was used to promote the anti-immigrant agenda. Here are some recent hoaxes spreading on social media.
Several poor-quality shots of sliced oranges with red spots and a brief description stating they come from Libya were used to spread a popular rumour: the oranges were sprayed with blood infected with the HIV virus.
Croatian customs officers were said to have made this socking discovery, the Sme daily wrote recently. More then 8,000 people on Facebook shared the fake information that has been spreading for at least three years. In August 2017, the antipropaganda.sk website was already writing about the hoax.
More recent alarm
The Czech version of the hoax has been spreading since at least spring 2016. The current version of the hoax is probably identical to the one Antipropaganda noticed: it’s in the Czech language, and both versions contain the same typo – instead of “pomeranče“ (oranges), it reads “pomenanče“. In 2016, more than 16,000 people shared this status.
HIV does not spread through food
The English version has been spread since February 2015, and was analysed by the snopes.com website. The server reminded readers that even if someone really injected the HIV virus into oranges, one cannot get infected in this way.
“Except for rare cases when children ate a meal previously chewed by an HIV-infected person, this virus cannot spread via meals,” Snopes writes. The virus cannot live for long outside of the human body nor survive cooking or exposure to stomach acids.
Joke looses control
Sometimes there is no bad intention or efforts to impact public opinion behind a hoax: from time to time, a mere joke morphs into hoax that isn’t too amusing.
Recently, Czech social media has been flooded by the news that Prague will lose one of its most famous monuments. The popular Charles’ Bridge is allegedly damaged beyond repair, and thus, it has to be demolished. Instead, a modern replica will be built.
This is not the case, however.
A man named Martin Topič created a paste-up that looks like an article from the Czech website iDnes concerning the end of a famous monument. The article states that the walls, thought to be 700 years old, cannot be renovated anymore, and the city has to get rid of the bridge. It claims the European Union ordered the bridge’s demolition as it does not fulfill EU standards anymore, and this news has to be shared.
The author intended this as a joke, targeting fans of such hoaxes and fake news by sending it to several groups in which they meet. In fact, he only misrepresented the original news about the demolition of the Výtoň Bridge, according to the Manipulátoři.cz website.
Facts and fiction
The Výtoň Bridge is the Prague railway bridge that has so many problems it doesn’t make sense to repair it, according to Czech railways. As it is protected by the Monuments Board, however, it could be replaced by an exact replica.
But hoax enthusiasts did not bother to check on anything, resulting not only in rude and enraged comments but also the spread of news that was originally meant as a mere joke.
Is there any lesson to learn? Hardly, if you know how embarrassing it is to explain the meaning of jokes, Sme wrote.
Monaco is not Marrakesh
In May, people started sharing information on the Monaco Declaration, according to which Slovakia has to accept 11,000 Africans, starting on July 1, 2018. After someone noticed that there is no such thing as the Monaco Declaration but rather the Marrakesh Declaration, the hoax was updated and the alarming news continued to spread, the Denník N daily wrote.
The first website to share this hoax was the Czech disinformation website Parlamentní Listy, according to Czech TV. On May 7, it published a story headlined “Africans to Europe, Babiš’ minister signed in Africa. Hungary: this will change the population of Europe, let us not sign it”. The story spread en mass across Facebook, while other Czech and Slovak websites immediately grasped the issue. “An avalanche of migrants from Africa is being prepared, supported by the legislation on the European and national levels,” the Slobodný Výber website wrote one day later.
Slovak politicians use the hoax
For example, the Supreme Court Justice and potential presidential candidate, Štefan Harabin, recorded a video in which he said that 150 to 200 million Africans will arrive in Europe.
“This is a fatal threat to citizens of Slovakia, and an existential threat to our sovereign state,” he noted for the video, which has more than 40,000 clicks. “Do our families want to have children raped, do we want to have window shops broken and zones where even police do not dare to enter?” he asks.
The Facebook site Zdrojj then published a picture where duties allegedly steaming from the Marrakesh Declaration are listed, garnering around 300,000 shares in two days. This is the third most successful disinformation news in the whole week, according to the blbec.online project.
The extreme right ĽSNS party also joined in, according to Denník N. Its MP Natália Grausová described at a parliamentary session in mid-May how Slovakia would be obliged to accept Africans and pay for their accommodation, paired with €800 in pocket money and other benefits.
The state tried to officially disprove these rumours through repeated explanations by the Foreign Ministry. The Facebook site for the police joined in, calling it nonsense and an “absolute hoax”.
The Foreign Ministry’s state secretary Ivan Korčok warned of the hoax through a special status on his Facebook profile.
The Marrakesh Declaration can be read in English on the European Commission websites. It was created as part of the so-called Rabat process, a long-term dialogue of European and African countries on solutions in the sphere of migration.
What is the Marrakesh Declaration?
The latest conference concerning the declaration took place in Marrakesh, Morocco, and one of the participants was Czech Interior Minister Lubomír Metnar; on the Slovak side, nobody participated. Moreover, none of the Slovak ministers even formally signed it. Slovak diplomacy joined the declaration with the Slovak ambassador to Brussels expressing his support remotely.
The working agreement does not mention anything about Slovakia being forced to accept Africans.
The Marrakesh Declaration is not an international contract obliging Slovakia to anything. It is a mere political declaration which is legally non-binding, according to Denník N.
HOAX ALERT: HIV injected into ‘bloody’ bananas, again
“That is Satanism,” a religious group says on its Facebook page, claiming that fruit is being injected with HIV-infected blood by groups of people “with the aim of killing millions of people around the world”.
The post by the Spiritual Warfare and Tactics Squad warns people not to eat any fruit with a “red weird colour.” It’s illustrated by two pictures: one shows a banana being injected with a fluid that looks like blood. The other shows a peeled banana with a red colour inside.
Hoax debunked three years ago
The post was flagged by Facebook users in Nigeria. Africa Check has found a number of versions of the claim. It has been so popular it was debunked by Snopes in November 2015 and Hoax-Slayer in February 2016.
“This form of reddish discolouration in bananas has nothing to do with blood of any sort,” Snopes explained. “It’s a hallmark of fungal or bacterial diseases that affect bananas grown in some areas and can cause their centres to turn dark red.”
The US Centers for Disease Control states that HIV does not live for long outside the body. And the virus can’t be caught from food, even if the food contains small amounts of HIV-infected blood. – Allwell Okpi (24/10/2018)
Rumor: Someone Put HIV+ Blood in Pepsi Cola
A viral rumor has been circulating since at least 2004 claiming that a worker put HIV-infected blood into a cola company’s products. The rumor is false—a complete hoax—but read on to find out the details behind the urban legend, how it got started, and the facts of the matter according to health officials
The following posting, which was shared on Facebook on Sept. 16, 2013, is fairly representative of the rumor alleging HIV-infected cola:
Versions of the same rumor have made the rounds previously, in 2004, and again in 2007-2008. In those previous instances, the food products allegedly contaminated with HIV-positive blood were ketchup and tomato sauce, but the status of the claim was the same: false.
No legitimate sources, media or governmental, have reported any such occurrence. Moreover, even if such an incident had occurred, it would not have resulted in the spread of AIDS, according to medical experts.
CDC Debunks Myth
This is how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains it:
You can’t get HIV from consuming food handled by an HIV-infected person. Even if the food contained small amounts of HIV-infected blood or semen, exposure to the air, heat from cooking, and stomach acid would destroy the virus.
A CDC fact sheet also reported that the agency has never documented any incidents of food or beverage products being contaminated with HIV-infected blood or semen, or incidents of HIV infection transmitted via food or beverage products.
The Myth Resurfaces
As recently as 2017, the urban legend resurfaced—this time in a viral rumor posted on. Aug 21 of that year. The post, which appeared on the website of Washington, D.C., television station WUSA 9, reads in part:
WUSA9 News was contacted by several viewers who saw this text message being shared on social media as a warning. The message reads: Important message from Metropolitan Police to all citizen of United Kingdom.
“For the next few weeks do not drink any products from Pepsi, as a worker from the company has added blood contaminated with HIV (AIDS). It was shown yesterday on Sky News. Please forward this message to the people who you care.”
WUSA9 News researchers contacted United Kingdom Department of Health Media & Campaigns Executive, Lauren Martens who confirmed the message is a hoax and also not shown on Sky News. Martens also said Metropolitan Police did not have any issued statement about this message.
The television station also contacted the CDC, which—as noted above—said that you can’t get HIV “from consuming food handled by an HIV-infected person.” WUSA also contacted PepsiCo spokesperson Aurora Gonzalez from who called story an “old hoax.”
HOAX: This photo with a warning about tainted chocolates is false
A photo warning consumers about consuming Cadbury chocolates actually shows a terror suspect being extradited
A Facebook post warning social media users not to consume Cadbury chocolates ‘for the next few weeks’ because a HIV-positive worker allegedly added his contaminated blood to them is a HOAX.
The post cautions against consuming Cadbury products due to the risk of getting infected with HIV/AIDS..
Reverse image searches on Google and TinEye reveal that the man in the photo being escorted by two police officers was not arrested for contaminating Cadbury products as the post claims, but is actually Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, the alleged mastermind behind the April 2014 bombing of a bus station in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, in 2014.
The photo in the post was taken on his arrival in Nigeria following his extradition from Sudan.
The claim of potential HIV infection from blood in chocolate contained in the post is also factually incorrect, because the HIV virus does not survive long outside the human body and cannot reproduce outside a human host. Contracting the virus from consuming food items, even if they are contaminated with HIV, is extremely unlikely as explained by the CDC.
Cadbury took to Twitter in March 2018 to caution its clients about the false information being spread about its products being contaminated with the HIV virus.
PesaCheck has looked into the claim that tainted Cadbury products could transmit HIV to unsuspecting consumers and finds it to be a HOAX.
Urban Legend: Needles Hidden Under Gas Pump Handles
“The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has had no reports of such incidents and there is no ‘Capt. Abraham Sands’ at the JSO,” the statement said. Nor had any such incidents been reported elsewhere in the United States. Moreover, according to the CDC, there are no documented cases of HIV being transmitted via needle-sticks in non-health care settings, ever.
The viral warning was, and is, entirely fictitious. It did add an interesting new wrinkle to the HIV needle-stick rumors already circulating online in various forms since 1997. Previous variants warned of tainted syringes planted in movie theater seats and pay phone coin slots, not to mention random “stealth prickings” (for lack of a better phrase) in nightclubs and other crowded public places.
- Is Capriccio Sangria spreading HIV? Snopes, 20 May 2018, by David Mikkelson https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/contaminated-capriccio-sangria/
- Hoax:Beware of HIV infected oranges, The Slovak Spectator, 18 June 2018, https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20852608/hoax-beware-of-hiv-infected-oranges.html
- Hoax: HIV injected into “bloody” ban as again, AfricaCheck, 24 October 2018, https://africacheck.org/fbcheck/hoax-alert-hiv-injected-into-bloody-bananas-again/
- Rumour:Someone put HIV+Blood in Pepsi Cola, Liveabout, 3 September 2018, by David Emery https://www.liveabout.com/rumor-someone-put-hiv-blood-in-pepsi-cola-3299329
- This photo with a warning about HIV infected chocolate is false, Pesacheck, 12 March 2019, https://pesacheck.org/hoax-this-photo-with-a-warning-about-tainted-chocolates-is-false-
- Urban Legend: Needles hidden under gas pump handles, Liveabout, 19bApril 2019, by David Emery https://www.liveabout.com/hivand-needles-under-gas-pump-3299098