A soft-drink company argued in a "dead mouse in a can of soda" case that an intact body of a dead mouse is unlikely to be found inside a can of soda because the dead mouse would have been dissolved by the acid in the soda can in that timeframe.
- The soda can was sealed in August 2008
- The soda can was purchased and consumed in November 2009, according to plaintiff
Direction #1: bacterial decomposition of the mouse
- The types of bacteria (anaerobic?) that can survive the packaging process - see "common question #1"
Direction #2: hydrolysis of collagen
(originally my focus, but now turns out to be the unimportant point)
Because the article does not include all of the details of that claim, we try to analyze it in several steps:
- By "jelly-like substance", was the veterinary pathologist referring to gelatin (hydrolyzed collagen)?
- Was the veterinary pathologist implying the complete dissolution of the dead mouse, leaving non-collagenous substances such as bones in the can?
- On the contrary, was the veterinary pathologist referring to partial dissolution of the dead mouse, which cause some tissues to disappear while the body still maintains its original shape?
- Or, was the veterinary pathologist expecting that some level of collagen / gelatin should have been detectable in the soda liquid?
The typical conditions for gelatin production varies, but it is notable that neither high pressure nor high temperature are necessary. However, this depends on the level of crosslinking in the collagen in the source material (the animal and the body part).
To summarize the conditions:
- Normal boiling in a kitchen pot, without needing acid or alkali (just soup), for 10-24 hours, at atmospheric pressure (100 kPa)
- Cooking in a pressure cooker, which typically rises to twice atmospheric pressure and 121°C (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressure_cooking)
- Commercial production often uses very high pressures (100MPa - 400MPa), but at much lower temperatures (from 10°C to 45°C)
- Was the can subject to boiling temperature and higher-than-normal pressure during the packaging process?
- This question will determine which direction is more likely. A sufficiently long boiling will kill most bacteria, although it is still possible for a very small amount of bacteria to remain. The boiling would have made the gelatin path more likely.