Last week, an employee of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit â€”a popular restaurant located in South Jordan, Utah â€”mistook a toxic industrial cleaning chemical for sugar and subsequently placed said chemical into her tea, thinking it was a sweetener.
Jan Harding, the victim of poisoned tea, is a 67-year-old woman continues to struggle with her recovery from the incident. Said Paxton Guymon, theÂ attorney representingÂ the wounded victim, of the agent accidentally used in the unfortunate poisoning of her client, “It’s a powerful cleaning product known as Clean Force Fryer Cleaner was mixed into the iced tea drink dispenser at the restaurantâ€¦Apparently, the cleaning product was mixed into the iced tea dispenser by an employee thinking it was sugar, which has a similar appearance.”
ForÂ lawyers from all regionsÂ of Utah, one of the main causes of concern deals with the proximity of the lye-based cleaning agent to the food preparation area. Currently, South Jordan Police and York Howell are working on an investigation to determine if there was any harmful intent involved in the potent event.
According to South Jordan Police Cpl., Sam Winkler, he and fellow officers are in the process of interviewing both employees who were present at the time of the poisoning, as well as those who were on hand before issue arose. In addition, the restaurant’s video footage is being pulled for detailed viewing to see if any other useful insights can be drawn.
Last Sunday, Harding was helping herself to a glass of tea at the restaurant’s self-service drink bar and immediately felt the impact of the chemical after taking her first sip. “She takes a sip, and her mouth instantly starts burning,”said Winkler.
After the initial taste, those close to Harding report that she turned to her husband and shouted, “I think I just drank acid!”
By the time Harding realized what was happening and attempted to spit out any remaining tea in her mouth, it was too late. Her mouth and throat had already suffered severe burns. Without a moment’s hesitation, Harding’s husband drove his ailing wife to a nearby hospital where she was flown to a University Hospital’s burn unit.Â .
Harding remains in critical condition after having undergone a series of tests on her burnt esophagus and stomach and may need surgery, which has the potential to be life threatening.