Health Officials Investigating After Restaurant’s Apple Juice Burns Kids

Image courtesy of Amy Loves Yah

We’ve heard of kids accidentally being served alcohol at restaurants before, but according to police in Pennsylvania, three kids complained that their throats and mouths were burning after drinking what was supposed to be apple juice at a Chinese buffet restaurant.

Two kids suffered blistering and were vomiting, East Lampeter Township Police said, while a third had stomach discomfort. An adult who tasted the apple juice — but didn’t swallow it — also had to be hospitalized.

That group was the only one that experienced any injuries or discomfort, a police spokesman noted.

“There apparently was some unknown caustic substance in the apple juice,” Lt. Robin Weaver told the Associated Press.

A manager at the restaurant told the AP that he didn’t know how the tainted apple juice made it to the table, saying the juice came from a half-gallon purchased at a local grocery store.

One of the kids’ fathers told Lancaster Online that a test from the Hershey Medical Center showed that methanol was one of the substances present.

On Monday, the state Agricultural Department sent an inspector to the restaurant to review how cleaning chemicals are stored and labeled, among other things. The county prosecutor’s office and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are working with the police to investigate as well.

“We need to determine whether it was accidental or criminal in nature and if there is or is not a crime,” Weaver told Lancaster Online. “We need to determine the cause so it doesn’t happen again.”