Test results show Lye in apple juice may have sickened 2 children at Star Buffet

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EAST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa.–East Lampeter Township police announced Friday that lab test results show there is a “high probability” that Lye in apple juice was responsible for sickening three children at Star Buffet earlier this year.

The investigation was launched after three children, ages 4, 6 and 10, fell ill after drinking apple juice from Styrofoam cups while at a birthday celebration at the Star Buffet & Grill in East Lampeter Township on March 3.

The 4 and 10 year-old suffered burns to their mouths and throats, and were vomiting, according to police reports. A 6-year-old and an adult in the group also complained of stomach pains. All three children and the adult were taken to Lancaster General Hospital.

Police say the 4-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy suffered more severe reactions and were later transferred to Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

On March 6, Lye was found at the restaurant during an inspection by members of the Department of Agriculture. The Lye, samples from the two cups used by two of the children, apple juice from the restaurant, and a sample from the location where the apple juice was purchased from were sent to the state Department of Agriculture for further testing, according to police reports.

“Results of the laboratory testing indicated that there is a high probability that the contaminant, in the two cups from which the children consumed apple juice, was Lye,” police said.

So far, no evidence has surfaced that indicates this was an intentional act, police said. No criminal charges have been filed.