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Restaurant serves Toxic Tea

utah industrial cleaner sodium hydroxide surveillance cameras sugar endoscopy

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#1 Hum

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 10:27

 A woman is in critical condition after taking a simple sip of toxic iced tea at a Utah restaurant.

Jan Harding, 67, was eating at a Dickey's Barbecue Pit with her husband, Jim. She sipped her tea and started gagging and coughing, Jim Harding said.

"I said, what is wrong?" Jim Harding said. "She said, 'I just drank acid.'"

The tea contained a heavily toxic industrial cleaner. The cleaner, made up of sodium hydroxide, or lye, is known to cause severe burns to the mouth, throat and stomach if swallowed -- chemical burns that Harding suffered from one drink.

Her husband watched as emergency crews tried to help.

"There was terror in her eyes," he told ABC News. "I said, 'I love you.' And she couldn't talk at that point, just mouthed, 'I love you, too.'"

 Police were interviewing employees and checking surveillance cameras, but authorities initially believed it was an accident -- that the powdered cleaner may have been mixed in by an employee who mistook it for sugar, which has a similar appearance.

Harding underwent an endoscopy Thursday, which revealed more extensive burns than the family expected, according to a statement from Harding’s attorney.

"The scope revealed deep ulcerated burns covering the upper area of her esophagus. There are also severe burns throughout her mouth and throat," Paxton Guymon said in a statement. "The news was very disappointing and disheartening for the family."

Barbara Insley Crouch, the executive director of Utah's Poison Control Center, said Harding's suffering is profound.

"You can imagine it would burn the tissues in your mouth and down into your esophagus and down into your stomach," Crouch said.

The franchise owner of the restaurant released a statement following Harding's hospitalization expressing concern.

"At this time we are fully involved in cooperating with all parties," the statement read.

Health Department officials said despite the situation, the restaurant was safe for customers, and remained open for business. Police said no one else was hurt -- that it was a fresh batch of iced tea and Harding seemed to have been the first person to try it.

Jim Harding hoped a lesson is learned from his wife's situation.

"If the people in the restaurant industry could just be made aware of the potential danger, it's worth it," he said.

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#2 DocM

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 10:34

This lawsuit will settle, big-time, long before it sees a courtroom. No lawyer in his right mind would let it anywhere near a jury.

#3 OP Hum

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 10:36

That would be extreme alkaline -- not acid.

 

Most restaurants I know have a strick rule about keeping cleaning products well away from anything food related.

 

God bless her.



#4 Ph1b3r0pt1c

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 17:44

That would be extreme alkaline -- not acid.

 

Most restaurants I know have a strick rule about keeping cleaning products well away from anything food related.

 

God bless her.

 

Why would 'god' bless her? If he is real, how come he did not prevent it?



#5 Lels

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 17:48

Why would 'god' bless her? If he is real, how come he did not prevent it?

No need to derail the thread into another religious argument.

 

On-topic - poor lady, I hope she does OK in recovering.  I'm sure she will see a nice amount of cash from this, but I'm sure she also would of just rather not had to deal with this.



#6 Earthworm_Jim

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 20:22

Well, Fudge.

 

 

I feel for her, it must have being TERRIBLE.

 

Drinking lye!   It is one of the most horrible tortures reserved for men.

I hope she recovers, but the damage will be massive and hard to fix.

 

 

 

PS:   employee that mistook it for sugar??    for petes sake, eliminate people like him from gene pool.  the rest will live happier!



#7 OP Hum

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 20:53

Seems to me that there are clear warnings on all lye:

 

th?id=HN.608041346435712281&pid=15.1&H=1
th?id=HN.607989965741884176&pid=15.1&H=2
Don't see how you could accidentally confuse it with sugar.


#8 Earthworm_Jim

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 00:28

 

Seems to me that there are clear warnings on all lye:

 

th?id=HN.608041346435712281&pid=15.1&H=1
th?id=HN.607989965741884176&pid=15.1&H=2
Don't see how you could accidentally confuse it with sugar.

 

Artificial sweetener than?!



#9 Xilo

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 04:02

Artificial sweetener than?!

Guy who made it was most likely on drugs as many kitchen staff in chain restaurants are.

 

She really should sue the company.



#10 rfirth

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 04:06

 

Don't see how you could accidentally confuse it with sugar.

 

 

I don't know. I went to IHOP once and ordered coffee. What did I get? A giant cup of maple syrup.

 

Didn't taste too good with the milk I had mixed it with.



#11 DocM

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 04:36

You didn't notice the high viscosity?

This one screams the lye not being in the original container.

#12 vcfan

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 04:55

last year actually, I went to a local café and ordered tea. it tasted heavily like dishwashing soap.

#13 OP Hum

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 05:29

You didn't notice the high viscosity?

This one screams the lye not being in the original container.

Yeah, I suppose they could have dumped lye in one of those generic plastic box type containers, for easier use.

 

Still no excuse not to label the box, nor to keep it near food stuff.



#14 Jombi

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 00:12

Most restaurants I know have a strick rule about keeping cleaning products well away from anything food related.

Simply not true. Industrial cleaners that contain Lye are used all the time in cleaning calcium deposits off of metal stuff. For instance, Subway uses a "green" liquid to clean the metal cambros and hotwell utensils, etc. It works VERY well on the large metal tea urns that you see at all restaurants.

What it looks like is they didn't properly rinse out the tea urn before brewing the tea. They probably used a powdered form and it just built up in the drain and didn't get washed out properly.

#15 perochan

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 00:30

second case has been found in DQ restaurant.

 

http://www.dailymail...al-cleaner.html