Earlier this month, Starbucks removed labels off its milk pitchers, which means that the various milks and milk substitutes now pour into drinks from the same containers.
For most people, that’s barely worth a shrug. To those with food allergies or who have loved ones with food allergies, it’s an alarming moment.
A July 9 Facebook post from Coralee Snow, a Starbucks barista out in Washington, warned food allergy sufferers, “We took off all the labels and now dairy, soy, coconut milk, almond milk, and other non-dairy liquids are no longer separated in different pitchers and while cross contamination was still an issue, it is now completely unavoidable. If you have severe allergies to any of those things, PLEASE request a clean and sanitized steaming pitcher from the back.”
Starbucks says, in summary, they’re keeping it real. By the company’s reasoning, without the illusion of segregation, customers can make more informed decisions.
A statement from the company emailed to the Miami Herald read in part:
“Starting July 10, Starbucks removed dairy labels from steaming and blending pitchers. Because our beverages are made using shared equipment (steaming wands, blender pitcher, rinsers) the removal of the sticker is more transparent and realistic of how the pitchers are used. As a beverage standard, our baristas use a rinsed pitcher for each handcrafted beverage.
“If you have questions or concerns, please ask your barista to remake the drink using a fresh pitcher and please remember that this does not guarantee that the beverage will be allergen-free.”