SEATTLE — Starbucks Corp. pulled its new breakfast chicken sandwich less than a week after launching the item nationwide. The company issued a voluntary stop sell for its chicken, maple butter and egg sandwich on June 26, saying it failed to meet quality standards.
Employees were instructed not to donate, sell or allow anyone to eat any of the product, according to the company. The product debuted on menus across the country on June 21.
“We issued a voluntary stop sell and discard on the chicken, maple butter and egg sandwich because the product didn’t meet Starbucks quality standards,” a Starbucks spokesperson told Food Business News the sister publication of MEAT+POULTRY. “We are committed to a high level of quality in the products that we serve and always act with an abundance of caution whenever a product or quality issue is raised.”
Unverified reports that the sandwich made employees and customers feel ill have circulated on social media. Starbucks said claims the item caused specific illness are false.
“This is not an FDA issued recall nor is it related to Salmonella or Listeria contamination,” the spokesperson said. “The quality issue that was identified by Starbucks would not lead to foodborne illness and any reports linking the stop sale to illness are inaccurate.”
The chicken sandwich was part of a broader push to improve food sales for the Seattle-based company. Increasing orders that couple food with drinks is one way Starbucks aims to improve its average ticket size. Food sales in the second quarter ended March 31 grew 25% year-over-year, contributing to a 7% increase in average ticket.