January 19, 2018

Starbucks Sues Suppliers of Tainted Meat for $5 Million

Starbucks Corp. is suing two former meat suppliers to recover $4.8 million the company lost when it had to pull sandwiches made with tainted ham from its stores nationwide, according to a lawsuit filed July 5 in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington state. Wellshire Farms Inc. Swedesboro, N.J. and Hahn Bros. Inc. of Westminster, Md. supplied Seattle-based Starbucks with ham for its hot breakfast sandwiches and cold lunch sandwiches that drew customer complaints for its unusual taste and spoiled appearance and was found through laboratory testing to contain harmful bacteria, the suit alleges.

GavelsStarbucks had an agreement for Wellshire to supply black forest ham for the sandwiches and was unaware that Welshire had subcontracted the deal to Hahn even after initial customer complaints prompted the coffee giant to begin looking for a new supplier, according to the complaint. When lab tests revealed the ham contained potentially harmful bacteria, Stabucks pulled all of the sandwiches from its stores in the U.S. and Canada and compensated the companies that assemble the sandwiches for their losses.

“Starbucks has lost in excess of $4.8 million protecting its customers and Starbucks’ reputation from food products that were sent by Wellshire and Hahn for sale to Starbucks’ customer in the United States and Canada,” the compliant states. The company is suing its former ham suppliers for breach of warranty, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and negligence. It is seeking $4.8 million in damages plus attorneys’ fees.

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