Tainted Tea: Dickey’s Sweet Tea Leaves Woman Critical

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SALT LAKE CITY, UT — The old saying ‘look before you leap’ is taking on some special meanings these days.

In Arkansas, for instance, health officials found high levels of mercury in state lakes and rivers, prompting a warning about eating fish caught in those waters.

And in Salt Lake City there`s lye in the ice machine!

Jan Harding is still in pretty bad shape in a Salt Lake City hospital after drinking iced tea laced with lye.

She and her husband had just sat down for a Sunday lunch at the local Dickey`s Barbeque Pit when she took a drink of her sweetened tea and noticed immediately something was wrong. Her mouth and throat were burning.

She ended up in the hospital from what police say was lye in her tea.

It`s the same chemical used to clean grease off of frying equipment, and apparently it looks enough like sugar that someone used it to sweeten the tea.

Investigators still don`t know how it happened, but say future customers shouldn`t worry, because it was probably a one-time accident.

That`s little comfort for Harding`s family who says she can`t talk and is fighting for her life, all because of someone else`s ‘accident.’