A nightclub in London, UK, was fined for serving tequila shots that contained caustic soda rather than salt by mistake.
Four patrons of Tiger Tiger nightclub requested tequila shots on December 7, 2021. Tequila is typically served with salt and lime. The Westminster City Council claims that after noticing that there was no salt, the bartender went to an unlit area behind the counter and poured what he believed to be salt into a cup from a white container that was sitting on a shelf.
Westminster City Council says, “The customers then poured the white substance onto the back of their hands, licked it, and drank the shot.” “The patrons started feeling sick right away, which is when the bartender realized something wasn’t right. He realized right away that the substance wasn’t salt after tasting it for himself and realizing that it burned his mouth and tongue.”
The patients, who had burns on their mouths and were throwing up, were brought to the hospital.
Although it’s not the kind of salt you want to use to slam tequilas, caustic soda is a salt in theory. As demonstrated in the scene from Fight Club below, you may be familiar with it as sodium hydroxide (NaOH), or “lye”.
Cleaning is the usual use of alkali salt. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, coming into contact with it can result in “severe burns to the eyes, skin, digestive system or lungs, resulting in permanent damage or death”. Even when compared to acid burns, these burns can be extremely painful.
According to one case report of an alkali burn, “most acids produce a coagulative necrosis by denaturing proteins, forming a coagulum (i.e. eschar) that limits the penetration of the acid.” On the other hand, alkali usually results in liquefactive necrosis, a more serious injury. This entails the saponification of adipose tissue and the denaturing of proteins, which does not restrict tissue penetration. Alkalis continue to pierce the skin after first contact, which results in deeper burns.”
The Health and Safety at Work Act has now been used to prosecute the nightclub and fine it £120,000.