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Did a Doritos bag really float in Atlantic 40 years before washing up on Outer Banks?

Did this Doritos bag float in the Atlantic Ocean for 40 years? The National Park Service says it’s possible.
Did this Doritos bag float in the Atlantic Ocean for 40 years? The National Park Service says it’s possible. Facebook screengrab of National Park Service photos

Is it possible that a Doritos bag floated around the Atlantic Ocean for 40 years before washing up at Cape Lookout National Seashore?

That’s what the National Park Service believes, and it posted a photo of the bag on Facebook Tuesday as its proof.

“This bag was found last week...on Harkers Island along with other storm debris,” said the post.

“The bag design looked odd to us, but we couldn’t put our finger on why until we noticed the date in the lower corner — 1979! While this was sort of a neat find due to its age, it serves as a reminder that plastic trash lasts a long time, in this case almost 40 years!”

The post has gotten more than 800 reactions in the past day, including comments from people who doubted the bag’s colors would be so vibrant after 40 years in sun and saltwater.

However, the History of Doritos web site identifies the logo on the bag as having been used by the company from 1973 to 1979. “Nacho cheese-flavored Doritos” first came out in 1972, the site reports.

Other Facebook commenters wondered if storm tides had uncovered the bag at a landfill, or if Doritos had reproduced the bag for a “throwback promotion” of nacho cheese-flavored chips.

No “sell by” is visible and no retro bagged nacho cheese-flavored Doritos are currently listed online. (You can find taco flavored Doritos with the old logo, though.)

TV station WITN reported Wednesday that it asked Doritos to “solve the mystery” with an explanation, but had not reported a response as of Thursday afternoon.

North Carolina’s beaches are well known for strange garbage washing ashore, including World War II mines, parts of SpaceX rockets and shipping containers that fell off freighters.

In September, the Charlotte Observer reported trash from Haiti and the Dominican Republic was swept up in Hurricane Florence and washed ashore at North Topsail Beach, a 1,100 mile trip.

The trash was traced to the island of Hispaniola after volunteers cleaning the beaches noticed countless plastic bottles labeled in Spanish and French, the Observer said.

Trash is a major problem in our oceans, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Here's how long it takes for some of the most common types of trash to decompose — including straws, plastic bags and balloons.

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