Susan Samson brought eight cases of Dasani bottled water to her home in Franklinton, North Carolina, but when she opened up some of the bottles, she found what appeared to be moth larvae on the plastic.
"A lot of them are right on the tip of the mouthpiece," she told WRAL. "Some people may wipe it off and drink it, but I am not going to do that!"
Dasani is owned by Coca-Cola and a spokeswoman for the company told Samson they were having issues with a distributor and offered her a box to return the bottles for testing. Instead, Samson received coupons for 24 more bottles of Dasani and a letter.
"I either want my money back or I just want Dasani without bugs in it,” she said.
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When reporters with WRAL inquired, Lauren C. Steele, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs for Coca-Cola Consolidated, said the larvae did not constitute a “health or product safety concern" and that, "There is almost zero chance there were any moths or larvae involved.”
However, Steele conceded that, "It wouldn't be possible for moths to get into product during the manufacturing process."
Coca-Cola has since apologized to Sampson and sent her two bottles for testing. In a statement, Steele said that, “The product was produced in three different batches in April, July and August, 2015. Lab analysis showed presence of moth larvae on the outside of one of the bottles – outside, not inside.
“There is no possibility larvae could have entered the product. The larvae appears to be Indian Meal Moth, a common pest sometimes found in household products like grains, flour, birdseed or dog food typically stored in home pantries, closets or garages.”
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North Carolina's Department of Agriculture agreed with Coca-Cola’s assessment. Food Administrator Anita MacMullan said that insects could have gotten under the cap during storage, but that it’s uncommon.
Despite Samson’s concerns about bugs on the outside of water bottles, consumers may want to consider what’s lurking inside. According to a 2000 study from the Western Journal of Medicine, “some of the bottled samples in a comparative study contained 10 times more bacteria than tap water.”
Samson hopes her situation makes others aware of what they’re drinking. "I just want to get the word out," she said, "People, check your water before you put your lips on it."