Woman Burns Mouth On Sweet Tea Filled With Industrial Cleaning Chemicals At Restaurant

There’s nothing quite like taking a big sip of a nice cold drink when you’re thirsty — unless that beverage is filled with chemical cleaners used to degrease restaurant deep fryers. Officials say a 67-year-old woman burned her mouth when she drank from a cup of sweet tea at a restaurant that was laced with lye.

According to the Associated Press, the woman took one sip from her drink at a Utah restaurant, after getting it from a self-serve station, and spit it out.

“I think I just drank acid,” she told her husband.

She had, police say, as the drink contained a highly toxic cleaning solution, similar to what’s in drain cleaners and strong enough to clean a deep fryer. She ended up in the hospital’s burn unit in critical condition, and has been there since the incident on Sunday.

Her lawyer says she’s fighting for her life right now, and unable to talk.

The restaurant’s manager and investigators say that a worker accidentally poured in the chemical thinking it was sugar, dumping a large amount of it into the iced-tea dispenser. No one else drank the chemical tea, as a worker tossed the rest after the woman burned her mouth.

“It’s disturbing that this kind of toxic, poisonous material would be in the food-prep area and somehow find its way into the iced tea vat,” the woman’s lawyer said. “I don’t know how something like that can happen.”

Police are still investigating, but believe it was accidental, a police representative said. And the woman’s lawyer is waiting until that investigation is finished before deciding on any legal action.

The owner of the franchise location said he’s praying for the woman, and cooperating with officials.

Chemical-filled tea burns woman at Utah restaurant [Associated Press]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.