Woman Hospitalized after Drinking Contaminated Tea
Tea Contaminated with Powerful Cleaning Solvent
Jan Harding was dining at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in the Salt Lake City suburb of South Jordan on Friday when she drank tea laced with a potent lye-based cleaning solvent. All it took was one sip of the dangerous concoction, and her mouth and esophagus were severely burned.
Harding's husband, who was with her at the time of the accident, rushed to her a nearby hospital, which transferred her to the University of Utah Hospital burn unit. Mrs. Harding, a retired school teacher, is listed as being in critical condition and her injuries may require surgery.
Police Investigating the Incident
It hasn’t been determined by South Jordan Police yet how the cleaning solution, which is made primarily from sodium hydroxide, got into the serving container for the tea.
It is a white powdery substance so police are suggesting an employee may have mistaken it for sugar. Police believe the incident was an accident but are still investigating it thoroughly to be sure it was not a criminal action. Police are also working closely with the Salt Lake County Health Department to ensure there are no other health code violations in the restaurant which may pose danger to workers or customers.
In a statement released through its corporate offices in Texas, Dickey's said safety is a priority for both workers and guests at all its franchise restaurants. Dickey’s sends their condolences to the victim and her family. They are not releasing any further statements out of respect for the situation.