More Unsavory Chatter Keeping Pepsi Spokespeople Busy

Photo: needoptic

The Food and Drug Administration is looking into a notice it received from Coca-Cola about fungicide contamination in a major orange juice brand. Coke denied at first that it made the report, but later fessed up, MSN reports. The Wall Street Journal says the fungicide has been found in Coke products and those of its competitors.

The two companies have two-thirds of the orange juice market share in the U.S. Pepsi’s brands are Tropicana and Dole; Coke’s are Minute Maid and Simply Orange. The fungicide, Carbendazim, is not approved in the U.S., but it is in Brazil, which is a source of orange imports for the U.S. On this issue, a Pepsi spokesperson declined comment to The WSJ. We’re already seeing headlines like this.

It was only last week that we heard about Mountain Dew’s ability to turn a mouse into gelantinous goo. The brand is still taking a few lumps for that, with TIME publishing its humorous take on the issue, complete with a reference to Toddlers & Tiaras viral celebrity and obvious Mountain Dew enthusiast Alana Honey Boo-Boo Child, who we have been quoting liberally for the past few days. (“My special juice is gonna help me wiiiinnn.” For real.)

Pepsi has also agreed to pay $3.1 million to settle charges of racial discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity commission says a policy of using arrest records as part of the new hire screening process (even when the person wasn’t convicted) disproportionately disqualified blacks and Hispanics from jobs with the company.

A spokesperson for Pepsi Beverage, Dave DeCecco, says the policy has never been discriminatory and the EEOC never found any “intentional discrimination.” Moreover, the policy has been changed, with input from the EEOC.

“We are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion and we have been widely recognized for our efforts for decades,” he’s quoted in this HuffPo story.

This may just be a rough PR patch, and certainly neither PepsiCo or any of its brands are in any imminent danger. But negative story after negative story will take a toll if you’re not careful.

[image via Flickr and Consumerist]