Woman in critical condition after drinking lye-spiked tea at restaurant

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SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — A Utah woman is in critical condition Thursday after she sipped a mixture of sweet tea and lye at a barbecue restaurant, police said.

A family was eating at a Dickey’s Barbecue Pit when the 67-year-old woman had an apparent reaction to her drink, FOX13 reported. Her mouth and throat started to burn.

An analysis of the drink by police found there was not only tea in the serving container but a mix of toxic chemicals as well. The toxin is a lye-based cleaning solution, police said.

Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, can cause horrific chemical burns and blindness. The victim was in “extremely critical” condition, police said.

According to the restaurant’s website, it appears that drinks are self-serve. Investigators said a Dickey’s employee mixed the chemical, “Clean Force Fryer Cleaner,” into the sweet tea drink thinking it was sugar; it has a similar appearance.

She was the only customer affected.

In a statement, the president of Dickey’s parent company John Thomson said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to our guest and her family. Safety is something we take very seriously when it comes to our valued guests, as well as our own team members. At this time we are fully involved in cooperating with all parties. Out of respect for the privacy of our guest and her family, we will reserve further remarks for the time being.”

Read more at FOX13.