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Woman critical after drinking chemical-laced tea

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posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 04:19 PM
Salt Lake City

A woman drank sweet tea containing a toxic cleaning chemical, severely burning her mouth and throat, after a Utah restaurant employee mistook the substance for sugar and mixed it into a dispenser, the woman's attorney said Thursday.

Jan Harding, 67, is in critical condition at a Salt Lake City hospital's burn unit, unable to talk and fighting for her life, lawyer Paxton Guymon said.

The restaurant manager and investigators have told the woman's family that the worker accidentally put large quantities of a product containing lye into the iced-tea dispenser at Dickey's Barbecue Pit in South Jordan, he said.

The chemical is common at restaurants and used to degrease deep fryers.

Harding and her husband had just arrived at the restaurant after church Sunday when she took a sip of the tea and exclaimed to her husband: "I think I just drank acid." Jim Harding rushed his wife to a nearby hospital.

She was then flown to the University of Utah hospital, where she remained Thursday, Guymon said. Harding's husband and their three adult children were by her side, praying for her recovery.

Holy that's scary!!

First of all, how does one not read the labels to see if they have the correct item, the employee that is?
And second, what is a chemical like that doing near where the condiment refills are kept?

Hope this lady recovers soon and this restaurant pays her medical bills
It doesn't sound good for her however

My thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family

ETA: Did a search and did not find this. My apologies if a duplicate....

edit on 14-8-2014 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 04:27 PM
I feel a huge lawsuit coming on and the end of said eatery...
I am sure teh kid that did it has been fired.
All that matters little if she has to pay with her health or god forbid her life.

Show just how many stores have little to no training for the people they hire.
Are they forced to hire the dumbest ones or is it by choice...........

posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 04:44 PM
It doesn't sound like the restaurant had it together at all. The other customers are very lucky they didn't order iced tea as well.

This goes waaay past OASHA compliance.

posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 04:51 PM
a reply to: snarky412

It saddens me to hear about this...she is in my thoughts and prayers.

I see in her future...a winning lawsuit party...I hope for her a healing miracle.

posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 05:05 PM
What good is the money from a lawsuit if you are dead. Money does not replace a person's life. Lye would burn the windpipe and also the lining of the throat and stomach. You don't need much at all mixed in the tea. I suppose drinking lye would almost feel like drinking acid, but it is the opposite.

posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 05:08 PM
I'!ve been badgering my family about not drinking tea from restaurants for months. There was an investigative report on a local news channel about the unsanitary conditions and unsupervised preparations for brewing tea in restaurants.
But now God!

I'll take my chances with the BPA in bottled water when eating tap from a gross pitcher or cannister either.

posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 05:10 PM
I wonder if the employee is really to blame? Its possible he was told what to use.
As someone mentioned above, this chemical should not have been in the same room! Definitely not just the employee's fault.

posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 05:16 PM
But these workers think they are worth $15/hour ... just sayin'.

Seriously, I hope the lady gets better, and this was likely a tragic accident. Still, shouldn't a person read the labels of what they put in the tea? I know I did when I was working fast food.

posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 05:22 PM
I agree voidhawk. The stuff should not have been left out in case of a mix up. If it was in similar bottles and looks the same, it's the reataurants fault.

Terrible tragedy. Hope and pray this woman does not die or suffer long term injuries.

Good thing nobody else drank it. I never drink that stuff. It's loaded with chemicals to begin with. So much cheaper, tastier and healthier to make your own and add real sugar and lemon. This sugary substance or syrup is just sugar and water. It would be a milky white colour.

If it looks like this stuff Here, then I can see how it looks similar.
edit on 14-8-2014 by violet because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 05:31 PM
a reply to: snarky412

Any toxic chemical or flammable chemicals should be kept in a separate cabinet area away from the food preparation area. I hope this employee isn't using this as an excuse and knowingly wanted to harm a patron. You would think if you've filled the dispenser before, you would recognize the bottle and at least read the flavor label before dispensing it. This is poor kitchen management and negligence on the part of the restaurant.

posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 05:48 PM
I've read about tragedies like this. There was the woman who ate ice cream that contained liquid nitrogen:

posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 10:39 PM
That's what we were the 2 could even get mixed up, much less why this chemical would be near the food supply any way

Not paying attention comes to mind first......
But it's too late now for the woman in the hospital

God I hope it won't permanently damage her as another poster commented on

At least only 1 person was harmed and not dozens
Although that is little to no comfort IMO

posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 10:49 PM
How the heck can someone even confuse something with lye in it for sugar. Why was it even near the sugar. Both those things confuse me. I hope this poor woman pulls through.
edit on 14-8-2014 by karmicecstasy because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 12:30 AM
a reply to: karmicecstasy

this is a horrible incident....the 2 products should not be stored near each other..AT ALL....poor lady...thank goodness no one else was hurt...

posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 03:03 AM
Any chemical like that should be in a clearly labelled bottle that is easily identifiable. Especially in a public place where many people are coming and going and could potentially get into it. I am assuming that the container was unmarked, otherwise how could it be mistaken for sugar? Unless the person was a complete moron I assume the container was unmarked. I mean if it said "LYE" really big on the side I cannot imagine the idiot who would say "naa, this is probably just sugar."
edit on 8/15/14 by JiggyPotamus because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 03:16 AM
just my opinion - but the only thing that " could be mistaken for sugar " - is anhydrous sodium hydroxide granules

there is an illustration :

can you tell which is which ???

PS - the sodium hydroxide bucked came with an additional warning sticker on the lid [ the lid broke - so I replaced it with a generic one ]

confusing the two products - takes a special sort of idiocy

posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 05:23 AM
a reply to: ignorant_ape

Found an article that stated it was the 'powder' form

Also, after an inspection, they found all chemicals properly labeled and separated from food items

So either the employee wasn't paying attention, not to mention the fact that if they don't know the difference in appearance between sugar and a powder, well, they must not cook much at home....just saying
2 different textures --granular vs. powder--


Someone did some quick changes at the business before inspectors got there

Either way, they should be able to see on the video

The chemical, also known as sodium hydroxide, comes in both liquid and powder form. The one the worker added to the tea was a powder, Guymon said.

The restaurant has remained open since the incident, said Jeff Oaks, Food Protection Bureau manager at the Salt Lake County Health Department. His office inspected the establishment Monday and found all chemicals properly labeled and separated from food items.

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Regardless, what a horrific tragedy for this family
She's 67 years old and still in critical condition

Still trying to keep an eye out for the latest on her condition......
So sad

posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 07:47 AM
a reply to: snarky412

I used to work in a frozen food retail outlet in the center of my hometown. We had janitorial staff who would come in during the early morning to do a full mop down of the floors, and tidy up all the front of house areas of the store, but when mess was made during business hours, the shop floor staff would have to take on any cleaning duties which needed performing.

In order to access the cleaning cupboard, one had to go down a flight of stairs, and unlock a heavy, fireproofed door. In actuality, the janitors closet was a room of about fifteen feet long by about ten feet wide. It contained numerous different bits of equipment on racks, and cleaning chemicals of every kind on shelves, carefully separated out and organised so that reactant compounds in the different cleaning agents, could not accidentally mix and create an exothermic reaction. One had to complete some training in the use of some of the things to be found inside, and a great deal of the stuff was off limits to all but the janitorial staff themselves, so noxious were the contents of some of the containers.


In an actual food SERVICE environment, I can only imagine that it is EVEN more important to prevent dangerous toxic chemicals from contaminating the working areas, and therefore I find it very difficult to understand, why a container of lye was even in the same ROOM as a container of sugar. A place like that should have a separate storage room for janitorial supplies and cleaning agents, and another room to be used as a pantry and storage room for ingredients.

I understand from the article, that the lye was being used in the premises to clean greasy residues from cooking surfaces, and I can understand that to a degree (although there are much less toxic, and safer chemical solutions out there, many of them very effective, and readily available). However, there is no reason to store chemicals in the same room as one is cooking in, or making tea in.

Again, the sugar and the lye should never have been stored in the same room, and the containers for the lye should have been clearly labeled with toxin warnings and corrosion stickers.

posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 09:35 AM

originally posted by: WeRpeons
a reply to: snarky412

Any toxic chemical or flammable chemicals should be kept in a separate cabinet area away from the food preparation area. I hope this employee isn't using this as an excuse and knowingly wanted to harm a patron. You would think if you've filled the dispenser before, you would recognize the bottle and at least read the flavor label before dispensing it. This is poor kitchen management and negligence on the part of the restaurant.

I've heard a lot about the food industry and the workers, and don't know whether I believe this was an accident. There are other reasons why not to eat out, yet not eating out also downs the economy and those jobs often support kids going to university, so its terrible to live in a world where various groups hate on each other so much.

posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 11:36 AM
This is terrible. It's impossible to say whose fault EXACTLY it was (I'm willing to bet it belongs to more than one person), since the worker obviously wasn't paying attention (and he SHOULD be, for obvious reasons), but whoever put that thing there is also to be blamed...

This doesn't matter now, of course. The most important thing at the moment is that she gets better.

But this shows that there needs to be more security and health concern at food establishments, after all, this was a very "small" mistake that could've been prevented, and yet, it happened and it may cost someone's life.

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