MOUNT PLEASANT — When Sara Lyle took a sip of her Starbucks Skinny Mocha on Friday morning, she wasn’t expecting to find a bunch of dead bugs in her cup. But that’s what she said she found.
“My coffee was about three-fourths of the way gone before I felt a bug in my mouth,” she told The Journal Times. “And then I had a bad feeling.”
Lyle said she had thought there had just been some solid coffee grounds in her coffee. But when she lifted the lid, she found what appeared to be at least a dozen dead bugs hanging on the walls of the cup and floating in the coffee.
Lyle made a Facebook post about it, warning her friends to “Avoid Starbucks on Highway 20,” the location at 5658 Washington Ave.
“I definitely wouldn’t want another drink from there,” she told The Journal Times, although she did accept a $20 refund card as an apology from Starbucks.
The Facebook post went locally viral, which surprised Lyle considering she’d meant only to warn her friends about the potential health issue. The post picked up more than 1,100 reactions, nearly 500 comments and 5,200 shares in four days. One man commented: “If this is true they should rename it ‘Starbugs.’”
Lyle called the Central Racine County Health Department at about 11:30 a.m. that day. By the time an inspector arrived at the Starbucks, staff was already addressing the complaint.
According to a CRCHD inspection report, by the time an inspector arrived that day, staff had already thrown out the mix used to make Lyle’s coffee, and had rinsed and sanitized the equipment used to make the drink.
After completing its inspection, the inspector advised that Starbucks’ staff check all dry mixes and coffee beans before using them. However, the inspection “did not find any evidence of bug contamination of the food or food contact surfaces.”
In a statement, Starbucks said: “We’ve connected with Ms. Lyle to apologize and learn more about her experience. Upon receiving Ms. Lyle’s complaint, we immediately engaged a health inspector to visit the store. This independent investigation found no evidence of pests in the store. We are committed to providing a clean and safe environment in our stores.”
Lyle said she was told by Starbucks employees that the store had been dealing with a bug issue, although Starbucks’ statement indicates that it believes there aren’t any pests at the store.
The following day, Lyle said, she was told by a Starbucks representative over the phone that it would be “looking in to” who was employed at the store.
A manager at the Starbucks declined to comment for this report.