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December 20, 2014

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Police: Chemicals in tea due to earlier mix-up

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AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Attorney Paxton Guymon holds a photograph of Jim and Jan Harding during a news conference in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Jan Harding, 67, is in critical condition at a Salt Lake City hospital’s burn unit, unable to talk and fighting for her life, Guymon said.

SALT LAKE CITY — Authorities say an industrial cleaning solution that ended up in tea that a woman drank at a Utah restaurant was unintentionally mixed into a bag of sugar a month earlier.

South Jordan Cpl. Sam Winkler says an employee reported the mixing of the product that contained the chemical lye into the sugar bag happened July 5.

He says on Sunday, a worker took large quantities of the substance thought to be sugar and mixed it into the iced-tea dispenser.

Jan Harding is in critical condition with burns to her esophagus and mouth after drinking the tea that day at Dickey's Barbecue in South Jordan.

Winkler says police are waiting to see what happens with the 67-year-old's condition before moving forward with any charges.

KSTU-TV in Salt Lake City first reported what led to the mix-up.

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