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Starbucks Files $4.8 Million Suit Against Meat Suppliers

Starbucks has filed a lawsuit against a meat distributor, claiming that thousands of sandwiches in U.S. stores contained spoiled meat and had to be discarded, according to court documents.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington, alleges that ham supplied by Wellshire Farms Inc., which was served in the coffee chain's hot sandwiches, was spoiled.

According to an attorney for Starbucks, potentially harmful bacteria was found in the ham used for the chain's warm sandwiches on two prior occasions. After Wellshire Farms assured Starbucks that the isolated problem had been corrected, the Seattle-based coffee chain continued to do business with the meat supplier. 

Customers began complaining of spoiled meat in Starbucks' warm sandwiches again in 2010, when the company ended its relationship with Wellshire Farms.

Starbucks is seeking $4.8 million in damages - the cost of the thousands of sandwiches that had to be thrown out as a result of the tainted meat.