WACO, Texas (KWTX) Licking or spitting or otherwise introducing bodily fluids into food and drink products at stores has consequences, both medical and legal, a Waco doctor says.
Recent incidents such as the one in Lufkin in which a teenage girl was recorded opening a container of Blue Bell Ice Cream, licking the product, and then putting the ice cream back into the freezer at a Walmart store are not only gross, but potentially dangerous to other customers.
"Bacteria like strep throat for example could be easily left there,” Waco family practice physician Dr. Tim Martindale said.
“There is risk of even meningitis, which is passed through saliva. So that's something you'd have to think about."
"When someone does this sort of thing it's an actual assault on other human beings and should never be countenanced even though it's being done as something that just makes you look cool on the internet."
According to the Texas Penal Code, tampering with a consumer product is a second-degree felony punishable by as much as 20 years in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000.
Consumers are advised to pay attention to the packaging of an item to make sure the seals have not been broken.
The incident in Lufkin spurred several copycats, including a 36-year-old man who was arrested after taking video of himself inside a store in Louisiana licking ice cream in a Blue Bell Container and moving his fingers inside of it before returning it to a freezer.
In Florida, a 66-year-old woman is accused of ruining about $2,000 worth of ice cream and forcing an ice cream shop to close temporarily after spitting, urinating and picking her nose into containers, according to an affidavit.