Starbucks Korea Is Apologizing For Its Controversial Giveaway

Starbucks Korea is trying to make up for handing out potentially dangerous bags to customers as part of their recent summer giveaway. If customers purchased 17 drinks from Starbucks between May 10 and July 11, they were eligible to claim the Summer Carry bag as a free gift, reports The Korea Herald.

When Starbucks Korea released their bag, they were met with concern over the contents of the bag due to a foul odor, which Starbucks initially claimed was due to dye that had not yet dried, per The Korea Herald. According to The Korea Times, an investigation is ongoing to determine whether or not the bag contains a class one carcinogen. The American Cancer Society defines a class one carcinogen as a substance that has the potential to cause cancer in humans.

Now, Starbucks Korea is trying to remedy the situation with compensation for customers who received the bag.

Customers can be compensated for the exposure

According to The Korea Times, a customer who works for FITI Testing & Research Institute — a testing agency for textiles and consumer goods — tested the bag's contents and was concerned by their findings. On July 22, the customer posted anonymously online that they had found formaldehyde in the bag. That same day, Starbucks requested testing from state-approved institutions, reports The Korea Herald. High levels of exposure to formaldehyde can cause cancer in humans.

In an effort to remedy the situation, Starbucks Korea is now offering free drinks to customers who return the potentially dangerous bags in store through August 31, per The Korea Herald. Econotimes reports that customers can return the bags to claim coupons for three free drinks from the chain cafés. Customers can also choose to exchange the bag for a different piece of Starbucks merchandise, or receive a gift card valued at 30,000 won (around $23 USD).

Starbucks Korea also plans to launch a nationwide recall to prevent any further exposures, reports The Korea Herald.