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Children in Pennsylvania Hospitalized For Throat Burns after Consuming Tainted Apple Juice in Chinese Restaurant

By Charles Omedo , Mar 07, 2017 02:04 AM EST
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A Pennsylvanian father, Richard Zaragoza Sr., is lamenting the hospitalization of his 10-year-old boy and his half-sister who suffered severe throat burns after consuming tainted apple juice from a restaurant. The boy, Richard Zaragoza Jr., and 4-year-old half-sister Ginaya Mendoza had visited the Star Buffet and Grill in Lancaster County to celebrate Zaragoza's 10th birthday. They ordered for apple juice and suffered severe throat burns the moment they tasted the juice.

This is his restaurant of choice; his favorite place to go

According to father Zaragoza, the entire family had been going to the Star Buffet and Grill in Lancaster County for years. In fact, the restaurant is his boy's restaurant of choice and favorite place to go. They had also often ordered apple juice from the restaurant. This time, the boy's mother, Virginia Davis, had taken him and other children to the restaurant for his birthday dinner. Other children placed their orders but Richard Jr. and Ginaya ordered for their favorite apple juice, AOL reports.

The waiter at the restaurant usually brought the apple juice in a bottle to be poured by the customer, together with a Styrofoam cup with ice. And at other times, the waiter already poured the apple juice in cups and brought them. This time, the server brought them already made in cups but the moment they drank from the cup, they fell critically ill almost immediately.

Apple beverage found to be tainted with methanol

"As soon as they took a sip of it, they were throwing up and there was blood you know, and all that stuff," Zaragoza said. The kids were rushed off to the Hershey Medical Center where they were admitted into the intensive care unit and treated for severe mouth and throat burns. Although much stabilized, Richard is still sedated with an intubation device. His father is much concerned for him since he is suffering from cystic fibrosis and diabetes.

Medical tests found that methanol and other substances were in the tainted apple juice drink. The owner of the restaurant said he bought the apple juice from a local supplier. Police is still investigating the incident, but Zaragoza Sr. is galled that the owner or management of the restaurant did not call him to sympathize with him or his son over the unfortunate incident. The Star Buffett and Grill remains open for business in the face of the incident and ongoing police investigations - a development Zaragoza finds "mind-baffling".

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