Yes, licking the lid of an ice cream container at the store and putting it back on the shelf can result in a serious felony charge. And yes, the Tylenol murders of 1982 that led to tamper-proof medicine containers is also a real thing!
For the health and safety of all citizens, Texas prohibits tampering with any consumer product which could result in serious bodily injury. Consumer products are defined as any product offered for sale to the public, or offered for the consumption of the public. This includes food, drugs, and any other product. Tampering with a consumer product can be accomplished by either adding a foreign substance to the product or altering the product in some way that makes it probable that someone will sustain a serious bodily injury.
In assessing whether an injury is “serious,” the statutes provide guidance. “Serious bodily injury” is an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes death. It also includes serious permanent disfigurement, protracted loss of function, or impairment of any body function or organ.
When someone intentionally or knowingly tampers with a product, and they know the product is going to be either offered for sale or given to another for use or consumption, they have committed product tampering. Additionally, when a person either intentionally or knowingly threatens to tamper with a consumer product, this may also be product tampering. Under these circumstances, the person must intend to cause fear, effect the sales of the product in question, or intend to cause bodily injury to another person. Reference Penal Code Section 22.09 for more information.
When serious bodily injury is sustained, this offense is a felony in the first degree, which can be punished by life in prison or 99 years. The minimum prison sentence for a first-degree felony is five years. Where no serious bodily injury is sustained, the offense is a felony in the second degree, which has a two-year prison minimum, with a maximum sentence of up to 20 years.