Two ill after eating burgers laced with multi-purpose cleaner in Bathurst, Australia

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A prank by three young kitchen staff at Hungry Jack’s fast food restaurant in the Central-Western New South Wales city of Bathurst went wrong when two customers required medical treatment after eating burgers they had laced with multi-purpose cleaner.

According to staff at the Emergency Department of Bathurst Hospital, two Hungry Jack’s customers became ill Sunday night after eating burgers contaminated with a chemical believed to be multi-purpose cleaner. One of the patrons was in a serious condition upon arrival at Bathurst Hospital due to being allergic to an ingredient in the cleaning product. “He presented to the emergency department as he was having an allergic reaction after eating a burger from Hungry Jacks, he was in a really bad way when he arrived here and if he had waited much longer it could have been much worse,” said a Greater Western Area Health Service employee. “We called Hungry Jacks and they said that three of their employees had been goofing off and sprayed multi-purpose cleaner inside the burgers so we then treated the patients for poisoning.”

Both customers are expected to make a full recovery. During an investigation undertaken by Wikinews reporter Nathan Carter, it was learned that the chemical sprayed into the burgers was KAY multipurpose cleaner which is reported to cause nausea, diarrhoea and mucosal and gastric irritation. The Material Safety Data Sheet for KAY multipurpose cleaner lists Antonic Surfactants as its hazardous ingredient.

In New South Wales, it is a criminal offence to make food intended for sale unsafe punishable by 2 years imprisonment. Due to restrictions on the publication of the name of young people involved in crimes in New South Wales, the names of kitchen staff can not be published. Wikinews was told by Hungry Jack’s staff that the staff involved in the incident remained employed by Hungry Jack’s. Josh, a Hungry Jack’s manager at the Bathurst restaurant, told Wikinews that his boss Adam was aware of the food contamination issue and would be taking steps to address it.

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