Chicken Treat: Karis Pringle’s injuries revealed after eating hot chips

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A mother has been awarded more than $1m in damages after a fast-food chain served her hot chips laced with a corrosive cleaning agent.

Plaintiff Karis Pringle, who was 26-years-old at the time, along with her nine-year-old son Kayne, had picked up dinner from the Bunbury Chicken Treat outlet, about 175km south of Perth, in May 2013.

While eating the chips on the way home, she noted they had an odd taste, and caused a tingling sensation.

She contacted the store and was told the chips had been contaminated with a “mild cleaning agent,” according to the Western Australian District Court decision.

Camera IconThe Chicken Treat franchise in Blair street Bunbury. Credit: David Bailey

She was advised to wash her mouth out, but a subsequent call to the restaurant had staff urging Ms Pringle to present at hospital, with the discovery caustic soda had been sprinkled on chips instead of salt.

Ms Pringle and her son went to Bunbury Regional Hospital, but the woman had to be flown to Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital after she began vomiting, with blistering to her mouth and caustic burns to her upper gastrointestinal tract.

She and her son were among 11 people overall affected by the restaurant’s mix-up.

The District Court heard, in Ms Pringle’s civil action against Tabloid Pty Ltd, which operates the Bunbury Chicken Treat store, that her subsequent injuries and deteriorating mental health have cost her her “zest for life.”

Ms Tingle still experiences a “tingle” in her mouth whenever she eats anything hot, cold, or salty, describing it as being like putting her tongue “on the end of a Nokia charger … it gives you a zap.”

She can now only eat bland foods, and only drinks water, which means she can also no longer eat out, unable to trust anyone else to prepare her meals, and generally has difficulty in trusting others, turning down an invitation to attend her sister’s wedding in Italy due to her fears.

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