Does AriZona Tea Contain Human Urine?

Fake News Story Targets Popular Tea

AriZona Tea Exposed By FDA For Using Human Urine In Products
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A viral fake news story originally published on the satirical website Huzlers.com claimed that AriZona Tea and other products manufactured by the Arizona Beverage Company contain human urine as an "active ingredient." The FDA has supposedly ordered it removed from store shelves. This was false, fabricated as an attempt at humor and satire.

  • Description: Fake news / Satire
  • Circulating since: April 2015
  • Status: False

Example #1: Via Huzlers.com, April 19, 2015:

AriZona Tea Exposed By FDA For Using Human Urine In Products; Will Be Taken Off Shelves

NEW YORK — Popular American tea company AriZona has been reportedly discovered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be using Human Urine in their products as an active ingredient.

Upon being unexpectedly inspected a few days ago, FDA inspectors visited five of AriZona's biggest factories in the United States and what they discovered was shocking. They discovered thousands and thousands of gallons of large industrial containers containing human urine.

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Example #2: Via Twitter, April 22, 2015

I just read that Arizona Tea won't be sold anymore. The Food and Drug Administration found human urine in there tea. Eewww!!

Example #3: Via Twitter, April 29, 2015:

I found out that Arizona tea has been putting human urine in their drinks this whole time... My life has been a nasty lie

Analysis of the AriZona Tea Fake News Story

This hogwash originated as a fake news article on Huzlers.com, a website that describes itself as "the most notorious urban satirical entertainment website with the most shocking headlines and articles."

It also boasts the most misspellings and grammatical errors of any website of its kind.

Hard as it may be to believe that anyone could mistake this stuff for actual news, some people do. Unfortnately, many read only headlines on Facebook and other social media and then share posts with friends without checking the source.

Similar Tales of Tainted Beverages

The basic premise of the story — that a bodily fluid (in this case, urine) has been found to be a secret ingredient in a popular, commercially sold beverage — is a familiar one. A rumor dating from the early 2000s holds that Red Bull and other popular energy drinks derive their energy-enhancing powers from the addition of bull semen or bull urine to the basic recipe, for example. Going back even further in time to the late 1980s, the scuttlebutt among beer drinkers was that Corona, the extra-foamy, bright yellow lager imported from Mexico and sold in clear glass bottles, was contaminated with the urine of brewery workers. Neither of these rumors proved to have any basis in fact.

The allegations about AriZona Tea are also reminiscent of viral alerts that date back several years warning that an HIV-positive worker purposely contaminated products in a Pepsi-Cola (or similarly high-profile) soft drink plant with his own blood, thereby exposing consumers to the AIDS virus.

Despite claims that these alerts were issued by governmental authorities, they did not come from any official sources, nor, as far as anyone knows, were they based on actual incidents. According to the CDC, the AIDS virus doesn't live long enough outside the human body to make transmission via food or beverage practicable. In any case, the experts say, even if a bit of the live virus were consumed this way it would be destroyed by digestive acids in the stomach before infection could occur.

See also: Coors Light Beer Laced With Cocaine? No, It's a Hoax!

Sources and Further Reading:

The Encyclopedia of Urban Legends
By Jan Harold Brunvand (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2012)