When senior Emma Williams noticed something off about the Diet Coke she’d bought at school, she dismissed the oddity as a chance occurrence and thought nothing more of it.
Days passed, and several other students fell victim to the unpalatable soda before sophomore Elena Lipman finally spoke up.
According to Lipman, the vending machine had been out of stock at the time of her carbonation craving. So instead, she went to the front desk to buy her drink. Receptionist Erica Wilson examined the soda and informed Lipman that it was past its expiration date.
Expired soda? Contrary to common conception, canned sodas don’t have the eternal lifetimes of instant ramen and Hot Pockets.
Most commercial sodas use the artificial sweetener aspartame, which breaks down into methanol and formaldehyde. While these chemicals are FDA approved and safe to consume in moderate amounts, they don’t make for the tastiest of drinks.
In essence, sodas containing aspartame sweetener lose their sweetness over time, and effectively become flavorless after approximately six months.
To determine whether or not the office was still selling the expired sodas, I bought one myself. Sure enough, the soda had expired in 2012—although, unlike in Lipman’s case, I was not warned before purchase.
“It tastes like sour club soda,” said junior Manson Tung after having a taste. Other students agreed
Financial officer William Petchauer, the man in charge of stocking the vending machines, said he was unaware of the situation.
“Well, I knew they were kind of old, but I don’t know about all that chemical stuff,” he said, in reference to the loss of flavor in expired sodas.
Petchauer promised that the vending machines will be restocked soon with fresh sodas.