Three New York City police officers have been hospitalised after drinking milkshakes allegedly laced with bleach.
On Monday (local time), the NYPD officers began feeling ill while dining at a Shake Shack restaurant in Lower Manhattan.
In a statement issued the following day, the New York City Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (NYC PBA) said the officers' drinks had allegedly been spiked with the chemical.
"At some point during their meal period, the MOS [members of the service] discovered that a toxic substance, believed to be bleach, had been placed in their beverages," said the statement, which was published to social media.
"The contamination was not discovered until the MOS had already ingested a portion of their beverages."
The officers were hospitalised but are expected to make a full recovery.
However, both Shake Shack and the NYPD chief of detectives, Rodney Harrison, say there was no criminal intent behind the laced milkshakes.
"After a thorough investigation by the NYPD's Manhattan South investigators, it has been determined that there was no criminality by Shake Shack's employees," Harrison tweeted on Tuesday.
Shake Shack's official Twitter shared Harrison's post, writing: "Our team is working hard to get the full picture. In the meantime, we're relieved to hear the officers are all okay."
Earlier, the company tweeted that it is "horrified" by the reports and is cooperating with the investigation.
Investigators are considering that a cleaning solution, used to sanitise the milkshake machines, wasn't fully removed before preparing the customers' drinks, according to local media.
However, the Detective's Endowment Agency (DEA) contradicted the results of the inquiry, claiming the cops were "intentionally poisoned" in a now-deleted tweet.
"Tonight, three of our fellow officers were intentionally poisoned by one or more workers at the Shake Shack at 200 Broadway in Manhattan. Fortunately, they were not seriously harmed. Please see the safety alert," the DEA tweeted. At the time of writing, it appears the safety alert has also been removed.
"After tasting the milk shakes they purchased they became ill, making it necessary for them to go to an area hospital. Fortunately, our fellow officers were not seriously harmed," the DEA's statement continued, which was obtained by ABC News before its deletion.
"Police in New York City and across the country are under attack by vicious criminals who dislike us simply because of the uniform we wear. Emboldened by pandering elected officials, these cowards will go to great lengths to harm any member of law enforcement."
On Wednesday morning, The AM Show's US correspondent Sandy Hughes reiterated that the employees working at the time of the poisoning are not believed to have acted criminally.
"NYPD and Shake Shack say there was no criminal action by any of the employees at Shake Shack. However the Police Union says they do not agree... and it was intentional poisoning.
"They are okay but I'm not sure what the long-term damage would be."
The DEA also urged officers to remain vigilant amid the ongoing protests campaigning against police brutality and systemic racial injustice in the United States.
Cops have been advised not to purchase food from unknown locations, to remain with their partner and to inspect both their personal and police vehicle before driving.
The NYC BPA reiterated that officers should carefully inspect any prepared food item while on duty in case of possible contamination and to eat in groups of two or more.
In a since-deleted tweet, it wrote: "When NYC police officers cannot even take meal without coming under attack, it is clear that environment in which we work has deteriorated to a critical level. We cannot afford to let our guard down for even a moment."
It remains unclear how the milkshakes became contaminated with the bleach.