Having pulled thousands of unsafe, spoiled ham sandwiches from its shelves on three occasions, Starbucks now claims its meat vendor owes nearly $5 million.
Levi Pulkkinen of Seattlepi.Com writes that according to a recent lawsuit, Starbucks didn’t even know who was producing the offending ham until months after complaints began coming in from customers. As it turned out, the primary vendor had subcontracted out the coffee giant’s ham order.
At issue in the lawsuit filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court for Western Washington are ham sandwiches filled with spoiled meat bought from a vendor.
The lawsuit indicates Starbucks trashed only some of the sandwiches containing ham bought from the vendor. Sandwiches containing meat from the supplier continued to be sold at Starbucks stores for nearly two weeks after the company learned at least some of the ham purchased from Wellshire Farms Inc. was tainted.
A Starbucks spokesman declined to say when the company stopped selling all the sandwiches using the ham provided by Wellshire Farms.
Speaking Friday, spokesman Zak Hutson said that the ham used in the hot breakfast sandwiches – which were pulled from Starbucks shelves three times before Starbucks changed ham suppliers – was a different from the Wellshire-provided meat used chain’s cold sandwiches. The lawsuit indicates cold sandwiches using the Wellshire-sourced ham remained for sale for 11 days after Starbucks found “potentially harmful bacteria” on ham bought from the New Jersey pork products supplier.