NZ cafe served dishwashing liquid instead of wine

Two women were hospitalised after a New Zealand cafe mistakenly served dishwashing liquid as mulled wine.

The Southland Times newspaper reported that Chico’s Restaurant Ltd in the mountain resort of Queenstown on South Island pleaded guilty to a charge of selling food containing extraneous matter — the chemical sodium hydroxide — that caused injury.

An investigation showed the two liquids had been mixed up after 20 litres of dishwashing liquid was delivered in a container formerly used to hold Mountain Thunder mulled wine.

Under New Zealand’s no-fault accident law, victims do not sue for damages. Instead, treatment costs and income loss are met by the nation’s Accident Compensation scheme.

The company will be sentenced next month and faces a possible fine.