WorkSafe WA is investigating an incident involving a case of mistaken identity between caustic soda and table salt.
Eleven people fell ill after consuming caustic soda instead of salt. 5 of these were children under the age of 10 who needed hospitalisation after a fast food restaurant added caustic soda to their food. For some reason the restaurant in Bunbury mistook the caustic soda for salt.
The incident resulted in 2 adults being flown to Perth for further treatment and the 3 children had to remain in hospital for treatment.
Caustic soda is dangerous and should never be consumed by humans. It is often used as a detergent and drain cleaner in restaurants, which explains why many restaurants keep the substance on the premises. The problem is when dangerous substances such as this are not marked clearly and can be mistaken with other day to day foods and condiments such as salt.
When caustic soda comes into with the skin, it causes chemical burns and has even in the past resulted in permanent blindness when contact with the eyes was made.
In addition to WorkSafe WA investigation, local forensic police are also looking into how caustic soda made its’ way into the salt shaker at the restaurant.