Lauren Carolus took to Facebook on 1 September after buying Granny Smith apples at the Superspar at Zevenwacht Mall in Kuils River.
She posted two photographs of a bitten apple, with a red substance at the core.
Freaked out Facebook commentators immediately started speculating what the red substance could be, with some suggesting it was HIV-positive blood.
Lauren said she took the apples back to Spar, who had sent them off for testing.
She wrote: “Vermoed dat dit besmette bloed is, maar appel is weggestuur lab toe” (I suspect it’s contaminated blood, but apple sent away to lab).
Adrian Michael Burt posted that the matter was serious and suspected a plot to infect people with HIV and Aids.
“Believe it or not...its blood with HIV injected into the apples and they doing it to kill people, it’s nonsense. [sic]”
Others took a lighter approach, suggesting the apple was on its menstrual cycle.
However, Jarryd Gennarakis, the store manager at Spar, says it’s nothing so sinister.
“Thus far, a food technologist has commented that it is very likely what they call wet core rot, usually caused by a complex mix of fungi. Infection of the fruit takes place when it is still a flower in the orchard and then develops in storage."
“This form of fungi poses no real threat when consumed other than poor texture or taste."
“In such cases not even a supplier, retailer or end user would know that there is something wrong, until it has been cut or bitten into the apple.”