Japanese restaurant worker added plumber’s lye to Yum Yum Sauce

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The Daily Meal

An employee at a Hibachi Express in Florida has been sentenced to seven years in prison for putting plumber’s lye in a container of sauce at the restaurant.

According to the Miami Herald, 54-year-old Margarito Padilla was a cook at Hibachi Express in Lakeland, Florida, and he was arrested in June for allegedly adding poisonous plumber’s lye to a container of Yum Yum sauce at the restaurant.

Franchise owner Zhong Jiang said he uncovered the crime and discovered that the 55-gallon container had been tampered with when he thought it looked off during a routine inspection, so he dipped his finger in and tasted it. According to the arrest report, Jiang said his mouth and tongue immediately began to burn.


Jiang said that surveillance video showed Padilla picking up some industrial strength drain cleaner, then putting it in a container of the restaurant’s Yum Yum sauce. The Lye was reportedly clearly labeled that it was dangerous and could be fatal if swallowed.

After police showed him the video, Padilla allegedly confessed to adding the lye because he was mad at Jiang about his working conditions. Padilla pleaded no contest to charges of introducing a chemical into food, and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Food doesn’t have to be tampered with to be dangerous, click here to discover 15 more foods that could kill you.

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