HOUSTON, Texas (CBS Houston) — A Texas woman was hospitalized after drinking a Dr Pepper that was contaminated with gasoline-type chemicals.
The soda Amanda Womack drank three weeks ago, bought at a Houston T&W Quickstop, reportedly contained gasoline. At the bottom of the bottle was a large, white spot of unknown origin.
Womack’s fiancé, Kevin Hamilton, took her to the hospital.
“I was belching gas,” Womack told KHOU-TV. “(W)hen he smelled it he said we need to go to the emergency room now, you know, because it smelled just like gas.”
Womack arrived at the hospital vomiting and suffering from dizziness. She was treated soon after.
Hamilton went to a private entity, Dixie Labs, to test the bottle. He paid $750 for the tests, after he was reportedly denied help from government entities.
“I was informed by the city of Houston that I may need to get a test done on my own,” Hamilton told the station.
The test results came back positive for traces of multiple chemicals found in gasoline.
Kathy Barton, chief of public affairs for the Houston Health Department, told CBS Houston that their resources are limited when it comes to researching the cause of such a contamination.
“It is not within our capacity to identify how the contamination occurred,” she said, citing a dearth of resources for such an investigation.
Barton added that the HHD reported the incident to other, larger entities, who have not yet responded on the matter.
In mid-October, the HHD became involved, going to the store themselves and isolating the remaining contaminated bottles. Some were taken out of the location, while the rest were quarantined.
Barton noted that Hamilton prohibited anyone from touching the remaining bottles, alleging that he has hired legal representation in the matter.
Hamilton, on the other hand, says that he is simply hoping to prevent future patrons from suffering the same fate as his fiancé.
“Was it something an employee maybe done? I mean who knows,” Hamilton told the station. “I am hoping this was the only bad batch and we got it all.”
Barton said that no other instances of illness have been filed with the HHD, and that it appears to be an isolated incident.
“It is likely this was one mishandled case, probably there at the store,” she said, adding that proper storage would have kept the product further away from potential contaminants. “This is why we have a regulation in the food industry that … food and beverages should be stored at least six inches off the floor.”
The company’s findings support that assertion, as they determined the product was not contaminated when it went out for shipping.
“We were very concerned to learn about the experience Ms. Wolmack [sic] had with our product,” a Dr Pepper Snapple Group statement to KHOU said. “In fact, we tested the product and other samples from the same production run and concluded that it was safe when it left our facility.”