Indianapolis officer says McDonald's tea contained chemicals

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - An Indianapolis police officer has consulted an attorney after he was reportedly injured drinking cleaning chemicals from a McDonald's tea dispenser.

Paul Watkins, a reserve officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, stopped at the McDonald’s restaurant in the 6800 block of West 38th Street last Saturday night.

He purchased a cup, filled it with iced tea from the dispenser and took a big sip. Watkins said he immediately felt a burning sensation in his throat.

When he told the manager what happened, the manager said there should have been a cup over the tea dispenser because employees were cleaning it out and had walked away, a police report said.

According to the report, the dispenser contained a heavy-duty degreaser. 

Watkins was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital due to complications from the ingested chemicals. He was released from the hospital Sunday.

An attorney said it was still unclear what medical issues Watkins was facing, but he was still having problems with this throat Wednesday. His family hopes there will not be any long-term complications.

"Surface-wise you might check out OK, no initial damage, but down the road, what's to say, would you want to consume acid? I don't think anybody would, it's not made for our bodies," Watkins' wife Jerilyn said.

The owner of the McDonald's released the following statement:

"Serving my customers safe, high quality food and beverages is a top priority at our restaurants. We take this claim very seriously and are looking into the matter."

"Even in your home, do you clean your drinking containers with bleach or acid? Nobody does that when you're drinking out of that, and why is it continuing to happen," Jerilyn said.

The family of a Muncie teenager filed a lawsuit in January after he reportedly ingested cleaning solution from McDonald's tea in August 2013.

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