Starbucks introduced a new chicken sandwich as part of its revamped summer menu last month — but quietly yanked it less than a week later after customers and employees alike said it made them seriously ill, The Post has learned.
Hundreds of customers and even Starbucks baristas took to social media to share their bouts with diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain after eating the new Chicken, Maple Butter and Egg Sandwich that was launched June 21.
“Suing for the worst diarrhea of my life. i have been living in my bathroom for 2 days now,” posted one victim on TikTok on June 28. Another wrote, “Had it last Wednesday… super sick… tested positive for campylobacter (food poisoning caused by raw chicken) Sunday.”
Some customers complained that they bit into chicken bones while others said the new breakfast sandwich was “ice cold in the middle.”
Six days later, Starbucks sent out an urgent memo to store employees to immediately “stop selling and discard” the sandwich, according to the memo which was posted online by a Starbucks employee. The company also instructed workers not to donate the sandwiches, according to the memo.
Introduced with much fanfare, the sandwich was supposed to mark Starbucks’ entry into the chicken sandwich wars — and its removal from menus was as quiet as a feather being plucked.
In a statement the Seattle coffee giant acknowledged that the Chicken Maple Butter sandwich “did not meet Starbucks’ quality standards” and that the company issued a voluntary recall and ‘do not sell’ order.
A spokesperson declined to comment on the flood of social media posts from people who were sickened by the sandwich, adding that the product is fully cooked and only “warmed” in the stores. “It’s not related to listeria and salmonella,” as some people reported, she said.
Starbucks added that it’s “committed to a high level of quality in the products that we serve. Delivering a quality experience to our customers is our top priority and we always act with an abundance of caution whenever a product issue (or quality issue) is raised.”
That’s small comfort to the people who were unfortunate enough to eat it during its six-day run.
“Took out two of my baristas at my store,” posted an employee on TikTok. “I’ve been DYING of stomach pain all day,” wrote another.
A slew of high-profile food poisoning cases have recently made headlines, including an outbreak linked to a Florida ice cream – Big Olaf – that has allegedly killed two people and sickened at least 23 others.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating the ice cream outbreak as well as thousands of reports from consumers who say they became ill after eating Lucky Charms and Cheerios breakfast cereals, which are made by General Mills.
Some food safety experts forecast a rise in food poisoning incidents with the pandemic waning and more people return to restaurants that are short-staffed.