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Diet Coke Production Could Be Disrupted by Coronavirus Concerns

Plus, a Hot Pocket heiress is sentenced for her involvement in the college admissions scandal, and more news to start your day

Close-up of multiple Diet Coke cans. Photo: Tom Eversley / Shutterstock
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at Eater.com, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

Sucralose from China may be in short supply

To be clear, the biggest things we should be most concerned about with the spread of the new coronavirus — COVID-19 — is the thousands already infected, the health of others, and the use of the disease to justify anti-Chinese racism, which — stateside — is affecting Chinese-owned businesses. But we can take a moment to talk about Diet Coke, too. Coca-Cola says that the spread of COVID-19 is disrupting its supply chain of artificial sweeteners from China, which could affect production of its diet and no-sugar drinks.

Though the company didn’t specify which artificial sweeteners came from China, CNN reports that in Coca-Cola’s annual report, the company identified sucralose as a “critical raw material” sourced from China. In a statement, Coca-Cola said it has “implemented precautionary measures to protect employees in China, which includes providing face masks and hand sanitizers; installing temperature screening in offices and manufacturing facilities; and setting up health monitoring mechanisms across the Coca-Cola system in China.” Exports of artificial sweeteners produced in China have been delayed, but Coca-Cola said it will know more about the situation by April, and that they don’t expect any delays. Maybe now Diet Coke-loving Trump will have to actually do something about the looming epidemic.

Correction: This piece was amended to reflect that Splenda is a brand name of sucralose, and that Coke’s sucralose supply from China is not Splenda.

And in other news...

  • Food blogger Angela Davis of The Kitchenista tweeted that her 16-year-old son is missing, and is asking for any assistance. “It’s overwhelming,” she wrote. “This is a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on any parent… just want my kid home.” [People]
  • The FDA says Jimmy John’s “engaged in a pattern” of selling vegetables, specifically sprouts and cucumbers, that put consumers at risk of salmonella and E.Coli. [RBO]
  • The Michelin Guide will be hosting a separate event for the Bib Gourmands for the first time ever, and will be announcing the U.K. and Ireland’s Michelin stars at an event open to the public. [Eater London]
  • The Hot Pockets heiress was sentenced to five months in prison for paying $300,000 to fraudulently help her daughters get into college. [Reuters]
  • HOT NOW: Krispy Kreme is introducing nationwide delivery service. [FBN]
  • McDonald’s is auctioning an 18-karat gold Shamrock Shake cup that’s been appraised at $90,000. [CNN]
  • As our planet warms, what would it look like for Canada to become a breadbasket? [Modern Farmer]
  • Amazon set up some Skynet-level surveillance in its new Amazon Go Grocery, so Ars Technica tried to steal some fruit. [Ars Technica]
  • Taco Bell says it’ll offer plant-based meat by next year. [Bloomberg]
  • Turns out Trump and his entourage didn’t even eat the broccoli corn samosa, or any of the specially-made vegetarian menu, in Ahmedabad. [Yahoo]
  • The above makes sense, as Trump’s doctor says he has to sneak cauliflower into his mashed potatoes. You know, like how you feed a baby. [The Hill]