It’s been a rough month for a couple of people who just wanted a tasty beverage, and instead got a slug of lye—a potent and poisonous industrial cleaner.
Grub Street reports that a seven-year-old boy named Riley Chase ordered a vanilla milkshake at a Colorado Dairy Queen. But instead of creamy vanilla goodness, he got a big mouthful of burning.
His mom ended up taking him to the hospital. You would, too, if your kid turned to you and said, “Something was like bubbling on my tongue.” Riley was smart and handed the shake to his mom immediately.
Horrified mom Lisa Chase told MyFox8,
The terrible accident apparently happened after one employee started soaking a vanilla syrup container in the cleaner in question. Then another employee came along, picked up the syrup container, and refilled it—thinking it was completely cleaned and rinsed.
The owner of the Dairy Queen franchise told MyFox8 that he’d contacted both the local health department and poison control following the incident, and that both employees involved have been written up for not following proper procedures.
But what about Riley? After a visit to the hospital, he’s already home and feeling much better.
He’s lucky—a 67-year-old grandmother who also got a mouthful of lye in Utah about a week and a half ago fared a lot worse.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Jan Harding ordered a sweet iced tea at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit when she took a single sip, then started gagging and coughing. She then turned to her husband and said, “I think I drank acid.”
Harding apparently suffered burns to both her mouth and her esophagus, forcing the hospital to insert a breathing tube during her stay. It took six days before she was able to speak again. Thankfully, she has been released from the hospital and is now recovering at home.
So how did the lye end up in the sweet tea?
A former Dickey’s Barbecue Pit employee named Rebecca Rackley told local news station Fox13 that she mixed it up by accident, but tried multiple times to get Dickey’s to throw out the tainted mixture. She also alleges that her mix-up with lye and sugar happened at least five weeks prior to the tainted sweet tea incident—which took place after she’d already quit working there.
If you’ve ever worked in the industry, this is why every food safety authority ever tells you to keep food ingredients and cleaners a) properly labeled and b) physically apart from each other.
We’d like to think that common sense would also tell you the same thing, but if Rackley’s account of the events is true, that’s apparently—and worryingly—not the case.
Here’s more interesting stuff from today:
DIY sake kit lets you brew from your kitchen countertop. [Foodbeast]
Central Perk of Friends to become a reality in SoHo. [Eater NY]
The Ebola crisis may become a food crisis. [MUNCHIES]
Magnolia sells cakes in Moscow under cloud of import ban. [Bloomberg]