A woman who sparked outrage after a video of her licking a tub of ice cream and returning it to a supermarket freezer went viral could face up to 20 years in prison.
The footage shows the unnamed woman opening the ice cream container and licking the frozen treat, before laughing as she places it back into the freezer in a Walmart store in Lufkin, eastern Texas.
A man, presumed to be the one filming the incident, can also be heard laughing and encouraging the woman to ‘lick it, lick it’.
You can watch what happened below:
The joke may well be over though as police confirmed today (July 4) the woman could face a second-degree felony charge of tampering with a consumer product, NBC News reports.
The charge carries a two to 20 year prison term and up to $10,000 in fines, according to the Texas state penal code. Investigators are also in discussions with the FDA and additional federal charges could be made.
Although the woman’s identity is a mystery to the public, police said on Wednesday (July 3) they believed they had identified her after ‘detectives had obtained surveillance video placing a woman matching the suspect description in the Lufkin store on June 28 around 11 p.m.’
Police are waiting to finally verify her identity before issuing an arrest warrant, with a spokesperson adding the identity of the man is also under investigation.
The spokesperson said, as per NBC News:
Our detectives are working to verify the identity of the female suspect before a warrant is issued for her arrest on a charge of second-degree felony tampering with a consumer product.
As that portion of the investigation continues, detectives are focusing on identifying the male (in the green shirt) behind the camera seen in images of the two entering the store together.
Police added that detectives will continue to work through the Fourth of July holiday on the case.
The manufacturer of the ice cream brand the woman licked, Blue Bell Creameries, referred to the incident as a ‘malicious act of food tampering’.
The company added that all tubs containing the same ingredients as the one in the video have been removed from the store’s shelves as a precaution. The compromised tub was found among those removed, they confirmed.
In an earlier statement, the company explained consumers would notice any tampering when opening a fresh tub, because its cartons are frozen upside down in production, creating a natural seal on the lid.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).