Coffee giant Starbucks is eighty-sixing an item that just recently made its debut on nationwide menus. While the reasons are somewhat murky and the company seems to be brushing it off as just a run-of-the-mill business decision, reports of sickened customers have begun to emerge.
According to NBC News, the chain has issued a voluntary "stop sell" of a recently released breakfast sandwich, saying the item didn't meet its quality standards. The Chicken, Maple Butter&Egg Sandwich was launched on June 21 as part of Starbucks' summer menu updates. But the company pulled it from menus only a few short days later on June 26.
And yes, while its premise may have been stale and its quality lacking—a review of the item on Bon Appétit called the sandwich "bland" and "beige"—the real reason behind the abrupt decision to nix the item before it even had a chance to take off may be more sinister.
As NBC reports, iwaspoisoned.com, a website that tracks self-reported food poisoning cases, had several recent complaints about the Starbucks breakfast sandwich. Customers from different parts of the country described the same symptoms of food poisoning after eating it: nausea, diarrhea, and in some cases vomiting.
A screenshot of what seems to be the chain's internal recall notice has also been posted to the website. The e-mail shows Starbucks has ordered its locations to stop selling and dispose of any remaining sandwiches. "Do not donate," the notice reads.
5 days ago
If you purchase this item, please confirm that it is not part of the recalled batch. If you purchased the item from this batch but have not yet consumed it – it is advised to not consume it. If there is interest in testing, the product may be sealed refrigerated and retained for testing.
If you are experiencing symptoms after eating the product it is important to report it. It can help to detect&resolve outbreaks early and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance. If symptoms persist seek medical attention.
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For its part, however, the company denies the move has anything to do with cases of food poisoning and says such decisions are hardly newsworthy.
"The quality issue that was identified by Starbucks would not lead to food borne illness and any reports linking the stop sale to illness are inaccurate," the company said in a statement to various outlets. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not issued a recall of the item, according to Starbucks.
The company declined our request for further comment.