Hazmat team determines substance in envelope outside Monterey restaurant was powdered sugar

A hazardous materials team determined a white substance found outside at a popular Monterey eatery late Monday morning was powdered sugar, the city's fire chief said.

Around 11:20 a.m., firefighters responded to a report of a possible hazmat incident at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant at 720 Cannery Row, Monterey Fire Chief Gaudenz Panholzer said.

The substance was inside an envelope mailed to the restaurant and addressed to an employee, who opened the mail at a podium outside the business where guests are greeted, Panholzer said.

The employee picked up the phone to call for help after white powder came out of the envelope. Another worker who used the phone also came in contact with the substance, according to Panholzer.

A third person was also exposed to the powder, he said.

The three adults exposed to the substance did not show any signs of distress, were evaluated at the scene and did not need hospitalization, according to Panholzer.

One of the three complained of dryness to their mouth, but refused medical attention, he said.

The exposure was confined to the area outside the restaurant, Panholzer said.

Monterey County hazmat and health personnel responded to the scene. The hazmat team ran two tests on the powder and determined it to be sugar, according to Panholzer.

During the investigation, patrons already inside the restaurant were allowed to continue dining and exit through a side door. No additional guests were allowed inside, the chief said.

As of about 1:30 p.m., the restaurant resumed normal operations and emergency crews were in the process of clearing the scene, Panholzer
said.

Monterey police will be looking into the source of the letter, Panholzer said.
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