Starbucks has apologised to a woman served a drink which had silica gel in it, which she consumed before realising what it was.
Sharil Bharin, the brother of Hanis who was served the harmful drink, posted photos of the silica gel on Twitter.
Hanis had asked staff at a Starbucks in Malaysia to add some nuts into her drink.
As she sipped on it, she felt something was different when she chewed on what she thought were the nuts but kept drinking it anyway.
After she finished the beverage, she realised she had been chewing on silica gel.
Hanis was rushed to hospital and had blood tests.
A medical practitioner told Malaysian Digest that consuming silica gel could be harmful to the body.
“Silica gel can absorb roughly 40 per cent of its weight in moisture and can take the relative humidity in a closed container down to about 40 per cent,” he explained.
“Although silica gel is classified as harmless under FDA (Food and Drug Administration), let’s be reminded that the sole purpose of these tiny desiccants is to absorb moisture – and the human body is made up of 70 per cent water.”
The doctor said people can experience side effects such as dry eyes, irritated and dry throat, aggravated and dry mucous membranes and nasal cavity, and stomach discomfort after consuming silica gel.
Starbucks Malaysia replied to Sharil's tweet and issued an apology.
"We apologise for the inconvenience," the tweet said.
"We would definitely take this issue seriously and ensure there is proper action taken, so can you kindly PM us your email address and contact details so we can forward this to our management and respond to you immediately."