Starbucks Korea recalls formaldehyde-fused bags
Starbucks is voluntarily recalling its formaldehyde-fused bags, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
SCK Company, which operates Starbucks Korea, announced it will recall 1.08 million of its giveaway bags on Thursday.
The coffee shop chain gave out the Summer Carry Bag, a large picnic bag, for free to customers who purchased 17 Starbucks drinks between May and July. But the bags were found to contain formaldehyde, a carcinogen, above the legal limits for clothing. There are no legal limits set for bags.
The company has been retrieving the bags since July 28, but officially recalling them makes it mandatory to report the process to the Trade Ministry. The company will have to report the number of bags collected and monitor whether the bags are sold by other sellers after the recall.
Customers were allowed to exchange their bags at cafes either for an online gift voucher or another set of Starbucks merchandise — a desk organizer and wireless charger — and will be able to continue to do so during the official recall period.
The recall period will continue until Oct. 11.
Customers will now be given the option of returning the bags via parcel delivery, following complaints of people who couldn’t return them in person or thought it wouldn't be safe to carry the bags themselves. Users of the Starbucks application will be able to schedule a package pickup starting 2 p.m. Thursday.
The Trade Ministry said it will conduct tests on other companies’ giveaway items as well, considering companies could be lenient in keeping safety standards when making free giveaway items.
BY LEE TAE-HEE [email@example.com]