A 67-year-old Utah woman is in critical condition after she sipped on an ice tea drink containing a toxic cleaning chemical at a local chain restaurant Sunday.
Jan Harding, a mother of three children, ordered the iced tea from the Texas-based chain Dickey’s Barbecue Pit location in South Jordan. Harding reportedly felt a burning in her mouth immediately after tasting the chemical in the drink and spit out the liquid, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The chemical in the drink contained toxic sodium hydroxide, or “lye.” It is meant for industrial cleaning purposes, like cleaning grease off fryers.
Police said that the chemical was left in a dispenser, and an employee may have thought that it was sugar and mistakenly mixed it in Harding’s drink.
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Harding is still being treated for severe burns at the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit.
Though she is still suffering severe consequences from the burns, police said that she is lucky she did not swallow the chemical, which could have been fatal.
A criminal investigation into the incident is ongoing, and it is still unclear how exactly the chemical made it into Harding’s tea.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to our guest and her family," Dickey's Barbecue Pit said in a statement. "Safety is something we take very seriously when it comes to our valued guests, as well as our own team members. At this time we are fully involved in cooperating with all parties."
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Source: LA Times, Image Credit: treataday.com