Ali Miraj 4pm - 7pm
Tiger Tiger nightclub fined £120,000 for using caustic soda instead of salt with tequila shots
19 December 2023, 14:32 | Updated: 19 December 2023, 14:40
A central London nightclub has been fined after one of its bartenders mistakenly gave customers caustic soda instead of salt with their tequila shots, resulting in four patrons being taken to hospital.
Listen to this article
The nightclub was fined £120,000 having pleaded guilty to four charges under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act at Westminster Magistrates Court last week.
An investigation by the council's health and safety team found the incident happened when a group visited the venue and ordered four tequila shots on December 7, 2021.
The bartender prepared the drinks but realised there was no salt to accompany the tequila shots, which is a key component of the popular drink.
He then went to an unlit area behind the bar and used a disposable plastic cup to scoop what he believed was salt from a large white container which was on a shelf, the council said.
The customers then poured the white substance onto the back of their hands, licked it and drank the shot.
Immediately, they became unwell, suffering from burned mouths and vomiting - emergency services were called.
When he realised something was wrong, the bartender tasted the corrosive substance himself, which burnt his mouth and tongue.
Police officers who attended the scene found a white container with a caustic soda label on it, the council said.
When the substance was tested, it was found to have a PH level of 13, making it a strong alkaline.
Caustic soda, known as sodium hydroxide is a highly irritating and corrosive substance.
It causes severe burns and damages skin by chemically breaking down proteins.
Councillor Aicha Less, deputy leader and cabinet member for Communities, Public Protection and Licensing said: "The shocking details of this case show a lack of attention and proper process for handling toxic cleaning chemicals.
"This incident shows that overlooking basic safety measures can have the most serious consequences.
"We hope the significant fine awarded in court acts to all businesses as a warning, preventing this from ever happening again."