Fact Check: Drinks In Photos Do NOT Contain Sheep Feces -- This Taiwanese Treat Is Tapioca

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Drinks In Photos Do NOT Contain Sheep Feces -- This Taiwanese Treat Is Tapioca Boba Pearls

Is a drink containing sheep feces now in demand in China because it is high in protein and also can make a person high? No, that's not true: This spoof post includes genuine images showing a popular Taiwanese drink called bubble tea, or boba tea. This drink can be made to order with several choices of the type of tea and the type of bubbles. The sweet chewy balls are usually black tapioca pearls. Tapioca is made of starch from the cassava root. Not all bubble teas are made with tapioca pearls. Some colorful fruit-flavored "popping pearls" are made with a seaweed extract. Also, the animal in the spoof photo is a goat, not a sheep.

A 14-second video "pooing goat" was posted to YouTube on October 20, 2009. A still from the video was combined with a picture of a cup of bubble tea to produce the spoof image. An early example of that was posted on Twitter in 2019. The image resurfaced with a collection of other photos of black tapioca pearls, with people claiming that this was sheep feces. For example, this post published on Facebook by Enugu Tribune on November 26, 2021. It was captioned:

SHEEP FECES (Nsi Aturu) IS NOW A BIG MONEY.
Sheep feces is now in demand in China because of their richness in protein. It makes one High too.
I am afraid the Mpkurummiri takers may divert to this for Highness.
It's been mixed with juice, soya milk and other liquids.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

boba01.JPG

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Dec 1 14:31:08 2021 UTC)

The three additional photos included with the spoof photo of the goat appeared in an Instagram post from a food blog by Young Tea & Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. These photos show the containers of boba pearls that go into the drinks. The bubble tea drink originated in Taiwan in the 1980s and has since become popular around the world. In China more bubble tea is consumed than coffee.

An April 20, 2021, article in smithsonianmag.com titled, "West Coast Bubble Tea Shops Brace for Boba Shortage as Cargo Ships Jam Los Angeles Ports" reported concerns that boba tea shops in the United States may run out of the signature tapioca ingredient usually imported from Taiwan.

Boba tea has some sugar and caffeine but there are no druglike compounds that would be like methamphetamine (called Mpkurummiri in the original post).

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


 

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