Past inspections showed labeling issues before tainted tea poisoning

By Cleon Wall | Posted - Aug 20th, 2014 @ 6:49am

SOUTH JORDAN -- The Dickey's Barbecue Pit restaurant in South Jordan received notice of health violations during a visit from inspectors earlier this year.

The restaurant is now at the heart of a toxic tea situation after a patron consumed sweet tea containing an acidic degreaser. Police investigating the case suspect the chemical had been mistaken for sugar.

The Salt Lake Valley Health Department noted seven violations during the inspection in January. They included not labeling food containers properly.

"Mislabeling of food is a common violation," health department spokesman Nicholas Rupp said.

The label problems are considered a non-critical violation that do not require an immediate follow-up visit.

The department's website says bulk ingredients like sugar should be placed in individual containers and labeled so they don't become confused with other ingredients.

The health department's most recent report showed that Dickey's sugar containers "are not labeled with the common name of the food."

Jan Harding took a sip of the sweet tea and immediately told her husband she believed she had swallowed acid. Her attorney said an employee thought the powdered cleaner containing lye was sugar.

A check of a 2013 inspection showed five violations, none of which involved mislabeling.

Cleon Wall

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