FREMONT -- A mother and her 7-year-old son became violently ill and ended up in the hospital on Father's Day after each took a gulp of bottled water.

Now, representatives of Crystal Geyser, the bottled-water brand that was consumed, and Lucky, the supermarket-chain store where the water was purchased, are investigating to see what, if anything, was in the water -- although no other complaints have been reported.

About 4 p.m. Sunday, Tammy Molina said she opened a sealed bottle of Crystal Geyser water, swallowed a small amount, and immediately became nauseated.

Molina, a married mother of six, said she was unsure what exactly caused her discomfort, so when her son said he was thirsty moments later, she gave him the bottled water.

After he took a gulp, he soon reported the same symptoms, Molina said.

They both experienced foam forming in their mouths, followed by extreme nausea, vomiting, and a painful burning sensation in their mouths, throats and stomachs, she said.

About 4:15 p.m., Molina's husband, mother and brother each sampled the odorless water by sipping but not swallowing, and each complained of a strange taste and texture.

"It had a taste like spoiled milk; it was slimy and slippery," said Kevin Butler, Molina's brother. "It tingled a little bit and it started foaming immediately in my mouth."

A family member called 911, and Molina and her son were taken by ambulance to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fremont.


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A day after being treated at the hospital, Molina and her son said they still felt slightly nauseated.

On Monday morning, the Molinas gave the water in its original bottle to Lucky store representatives for testing. Store officials still were waiting for results Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, all Crystal Geyser products have been removed from the Fremont store as a precaution, Lucky spokeswoman Alicia Rockwell said.

In these cases, Lucky's risk management department partners with a Modesto-based liability claim service firm to investigate the incident and test the water.

Lucky representatives have not received any other complaints about the product, Rockwell said. Likewise, Crystal Geyser representatives have not received any other complaints.

"Crystal Geyser does extensive daily tests of its water and production process, checking at separate production points to ensure water quality and safety," said Page Beykpour, quality assurance coordinator for the San Francisco-based company.

"I've looked at our testing for the day that this product was manufactured, and our testing shows zero problems from that day. Our testing is above Food and Drug Administration requirements."

Beykpour said that once the company gets a water sample from the Molinas, it can test it and produce a fairly quick result.

"If it's an isolated complaint like this, where nothing indicates it was a safety or health error related to our production process, then generally, we can conclude an investigation within two or three days," Beykpour said. "It could be something that happened post-manufacture. Every time we get a complaint like this, we look at it very closely to determine whether it's valid or not."

Meanwhile, Molina said she and her family just want to know what, if anything, was in the water.

"What if someone gave six ounces of that water to a baby or an elderly person?" she said. "People need to be aware of what's in that water."

Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.