Manhattan Starbucks accused of using exposing customers, employees to toxic pesticides

NEW YORK -- For 19 years Paul D’Auria worked in pest control, but now he’s calling out Starbucks, a company he was a vendor for for at least 12 years.

In a complaint filed by attorneys at Filosa Graff LLP and Wigdor LLP, D’Auria said the coffee giant knowingly used poisonous pesticides inside several of their Manhattan stores.

“No Pest Strips” contain what’s known as dichlorvos or DDVP, a dangerous and hazardous product that is recommended not to be used in any area occupied by people and certainly not intended to be near food of any kind.

“In all my years doing this. The worst. The absolute worst conditions in a food establishment,” D’Auria said.

D’Auria, along with two more employees, are now claiming whistleblower retaliation and emotional distress. D’Auria said his pest control company, despite being named vendor of the year in 2018, was released from its contract after he warned about the use of “No Pest Strips.”

A consumer class action also filed claims Starbucks is engaging in deceptive and fraudulent consumer conduct by not providing products as advertised. Photos provided by the attorneys illustrate filthy and unsanitary conditions that are so bad the complaint states it’s caused mold and is a breeding ground for flies, cockroaches, silverfish, maggots and other insects and pests.

In a statement to PIX11, Starbucks said:

"The lawsuits filed by the plaintiffs and their attorneys lack merit and are an attempt to incite public fear for their own financial gain. We go to great length to ensure the safety of our partners and customers, and we are confident they have not been put at risk. Starbucks takes the concerns of its partners very seriously and does not take action or retaliate against partners who express them."

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