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Pepsi says videotape backs its claim of hoax

SOMERS, N.Y. -- Pepsi's chief executive officer said the company has a videotaped showing a woman inserting a syringe into a can of pop and used the footage to reinforce its stand that a recall was unnecessary.

The tape taken from a surveillance camera at a store in Colorado shows a woman apparently inserting a syringe into an open Diet Pepsi can and then claiming the can had been tampered with.

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Craig Weatherup, president and chief executive officer of Pepsi-Cola North America, told reporters Thursday the videotape demonstrates that alleged tampering occurs only after a can is opened.

'The reason we have not recalled our products is because federal and other enforcement authorities agree that there is no indication of health risk,' he said. 'A recall would accomplish nothing because a recall can't prevent individual behavior.'

At a separate news conference in Washington, FDA Commissioner David Kessler announced three additional arrests made Thursday afternoon, and said he expects more will follow, as many backed off from their complaints. He also stressed that remaining reports are being investigated on a case by case basis.

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Weatherup called the account of alleged product tampering in Aurora, Colo.,'disturbing.'

In the videotape that was taken Tuesday, Weatherup said a woman, who was not identified, took a can from a six pack of Diet Pepsi and asked a store attendant to open it for her because she didn't want to break her nails.

The police report said when the contents were poured, a syringe fell out.

But Weatherup said the tape shows the customer taking the open Diet Pepsi can and and lowering it behind her bag on the counter out of the clerk's sight.

The camera shows the woman taking a syringe out of her bag.

'Now watch closely as she fumbles with the syringe behind her bag. You can see her fumbling to get it to stay in the can. The Diet Pepsi can then reappears,' Weatherup said, recounting the scene for reporters.

'Let's take a close at what she is doing. Although the quality of the video is poor, it's apparent she is stuffing the syringe into the top of the can. The Diet Pepsi can then reappears a few moments later,' he said.

The can was placed back on the counter and the woman asked the clerk to pour the Diet Pepsi into a glass for her.

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According to the police report, a syringe fell out.

'She then asks for the store manager to show that she found a syringe in a Diet Pepsi can,' he said.

'Our message is that we believe in what's right and what's fair,' Weatherup said. 'Most importantly we feel that neither Pepsi, the 50, 000 hard working people who bring you Pepsi products, nor you the American public can allow ourselves to be held hostage to this type of deception.'

'This has been a very difficult time both for us and for Pepsi drinkers, but we are confident that the consumer's judgment and common sense will prevail once all of the facts become public,' he said.

Despite the apparent hoax shown in the videotape, both Pepsi and the FDA said all claims of alleged tampering were being investigated.

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