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Utah woman critically injured by toxic tea at Dickey's Barbecue Pit

Published August 13, 2014 10:53 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A woman is in critical condition after drinking sweet tea that contained a toxic industrial cleaning chemical at a South Jordan restaurant.

The woman, 67, was eating at Dickey's Barbecue Pit, 689 W. South Jordan Parkway, about 1 p.m. Sunday when she poured a glass of sweet tea from the self-service beverage bar, said South Jordan Police Cpl. Sam Winkler.

"She takes a sip, and her mouth instantly starts burning," Winkler said.

She tried to spit out the tea, but her mouth and throat suffered severe burns, Winkler said. Her husband took her to a nearby hospital, and she was flown to University Hospital's burn unit, where she remained in "extremely critical condition" on Wednesday night, Winkler said.

"We're not sure how, but a highly toxic industrial cleaning chemical somehow made its way into the tea," Winkler said.

The chemical is 67 percent sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye, Winkler said. It is used to clean grease off the restaurants fryers and appears to have been mixed with the tea accidentally.

The restaurant was cooperating with the investigation, Winkler said.

ealberty@sltrib.com

Twitter: @erinalberty