|Starbucks Korea's Summer Carry Bag / Courtesy of Starbucks Korea|
By Kim Jae-heun
Starbucks Korea has decided to accept its Summer Carry Bag product from customers who want to return the giveaway item as it is believed to contain formaldehyde, a class 1 carcinogen, according to company officials, Monday. In return, Korea's largest coffee chain will offer three free drink coupons.
Despite the company's decision to compensate customers for the controversial giveaway item with free drinks, it is too early to confirm that its Summer Carry Bag giveaway contains the harmful chemical.
"We apologize for causing concerns to our customers over this incident," a Starbucks Korea official said. "We are still checking with our supplier concerning the allegation that formaldehyde was detected in our Summer Carry Bag item. Separately, we are also conducting our own inspection through an accredited outside agency. The result will likely come out in a week or so."
The official added, "No violation has been found of the current law, but we are still looking into a specific cause that alerted us to the issue."
On July 22, a Starbucks customer, who claims to work for FITI Testing & Research Institute, wrote an anonymous post on Blind, a social media community app, that the carcinogen was detected in the Summer Carry Bag item during a test.
FITI Testing & Research Institute is a comprehensive testing agency in the textile fashion, consumer goods, environment and biology sectors.
The agency said the anonymous post is not an official position regarding the ongoing issue.