Police are investigating the Dairy Queen in Ferndale, Whatcom County, after two men purchased malts that apparently had been intentionally contaminated with a chemical cleanser.

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FERNDALE, Whatcom County — Police are investigating the Dairy Queen (DQ) on Riverside Drive after two men purchased malts that apparently had been intentionally contaminated with a chemical cleanser.

The men reported burning in their mouths and on their tongues after drinking the malts Feb. 25, Lt. Bill Hatchett said.

One man went to St. Joseph Hospital for treatment, while the other did not require it, Hatchett said.

Police examined the malt dispenser and saw that it was contaminated, Hatchett said.

Police do not know what the cleanser was but have sent samples of the contaminated malt and all the cleansers in the store to a State Patrol crime lab for testing, Hatchett said.

They are investigating the incident as a crime because they believe someone added the cleanser on purpose, Hatchett said.

“It doesn’t appear to be accidental,” Hatchett said.

Police think an employee was most likely responsible, because that person would have been the only one with access to the malt, he said.

The Whatcom County Health Department conducted an inspection after the tainted malts were sold and determined the restaurant is a safe place to eat, Health Officer Greg Stern said.

Owner Scott Whitman said his employees have taken more care to examine the food they prepare before selling it.

Police are urging anyone who experienced a similar effect after drinking a malt from that Dairy Queen to call the Ferndale Police Department at 360-384-3390.