A lawsuit was filed today in New York City against #Starbucks, claiming that the coffee giant has been exposing its employees and customers to deadly pesticides for years, despite receiving several warnings from pest control experts.

According to court docs obtained by @blast, a former Starbucks employee and two pest control workers who serviced Starbucks stores for a number of years claim that the company “has for years permitted the deployment of toxic chemicals in its stores, which infused not only the food products and fixtures, but also the very air circulated throughout its retail locations in Manhattan.”

Starbucks responded with this to say about the lawsuit:

“The lawsuits filed by the plaintiffs and their attorneys lack merit and are an attempt to incite public fear for their own financial gain. We go to great length to ensure the safety of our partners and customers, and we are confident they have not been put at risk. Starbucks takes the concerns of its partners very seriously and does not take action or retaliate against partners who express them.”

The lawsuit specifically refers to pesticide strips that were kept in and around areas where food was prepared. Apparently, Starbucks has been provided with at least a dozen different explicit written warnings from external experts in the past three years, according to the former workers who filed the suit.

They also claim that Starbucks “systematically and unlawfully hid these toxic products in their stores for the past several years.”

The lawsuit claims, “Starbucks stores located throughout Manhattan –– from Battery Park to upper Manhattan –– continuously failed to take necessary or adequate measures to ensure their cleanliness and instead recklessly hid hazardous pesticides throughout their stores, including in close proximity to food and food preparation areas.”

The suit identifies “Hot Shot No-Pest 2” strips were used in Starbucks stores. The strips contain a toxin called Dichlorvos, which the lawsuit claims is “hazardous to humans.”

The lawsuit claims that the labeling for the strips warns to not use them in the food areas or food processing areas as well as food establishments in general.

But a Starbucks spokesperson disputed these claims, saying the products used in their stores must meet “high safety standards in order to comply with our company guidelines,” and that the pest strips were used outside of the company’s guidelines.

Paul D’Auria — a pest control technician who worked for an outside company that serviced Starbucks stores for years — claims he “discovered that Starbucks management personnel routinely placed numerous sets of DDVP No-Pest Strips within virtually each of the more than 100 stores that he serviced from at least early in 2015 through June 2018, and in multiple locations in each such store.”

Starbucks says as soon as officials found this out, Starbucks instructed local leadership to remove them. “Starbucks has high safety standards for all products used in its stores, and these were being misused in violation of company guidelines,” a Starbucks spokesperson said.

D’Auria added that he “routinely photographed many of the No-Pest Strips that he discovered for purposes of documenting and reporting the dangerous misuse of this product which posed an obvious threat to his own health and safety as well as the health and safety of Starbucks patrons and employees.

He claims he found the strips piled on or around air events, behind the coffee bar, piled in heaps along high shelves and ledges, under and along countertops, in and next to pastry cabinets, and in employee break areas.

“Upon hearing reports that employees had used a product that violated company guidelines, Starbucks immediately instructed local leadership to remove these products. We can confirm that these products have been removed,” a Starbucks spokesperson said. “Additionally, I can confirm that we consulted with experts who concluded that based on how the strips were used in stores, employees and customers were not exposed to health risks.”

The lawsuit alleges negligent infliction of emotional harm and retaliation. They are seeking damages in excess of $75,000.

TSR STAFF: Christina C! @cdelafresh