Federal investigators found a decaying rat inside a Diet Pepsi-Cola can sold in Orange County, but decided to close the case without issuing warnings to Pepsi-Cola or to the public, U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorities confirmed Wednesday.
A Pepsi official said the company denies responsibility for the rodent and that the claim may be the latest hoax against the firm.
An FDA spokeswoman said it was unknown how the rat got into the can and that the incident seemed isolated.
Investigators inspected the Pepsi-Cola bottling company factory in Buena Park that produced the soda, turning up no problems with cleanliness or quality control, FDA spokeswoman Rosario Quintanilla-Vior said.
"We did find the rat in the can," Quintanilla-Vior said. "It was in pieces, but it was there," she said.
Said official Anne Ward from Pepsi headquarters in Somers, N.Y.: "It's tough for anyone to know how the rat or mouse got into the can, but the FDA gave our plant a clean bill of health."
A 22-year-old woman has filed suit against Pepsi-Cola Co. and the Albertson's grocery store chain, alleging that she bought and drank from the can of Diet Pepsi that contained the dead rat.