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Originally published October 9, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 9, 2007 at 10:16 PM

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Starbucks recalls plastic children's cups

Starbucks has recalled about 250,000 plastic children's cups sold in its stores from May 2006 through this summer. Made in China, the cups...

Seattle Times business reporter

Starbucks has recalled about 250,000 plastic children's cups sold in its stores from May 2006 through this summer.

Made in China, the cups have colorful faces — a ladybug, a turtle, a rabbit or a chicken — that can break off if the cup is dropped, leaving small parts or sharp exposed edges that pose choking and laceration hazards to young children, according to a recall notice from Starbucks and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The Seattle-based coffee company has received seven reports of the cups breaking, including two reports in which a child began to choke on a broken piece, according to the notice. No other injuries have been reported.

A Starbucks spokeswoman said the initial report, about a cup being dropped and having sharp edges, came more than a year ago.

"After hearing consumer concerns about the cups and conducting a thorough investigation, Starbucks determined that for the safety of our customers, a voluntary recall was the appropriate course of action. We worked closely with the CPSC to determine the best course of action for issuing the recall in a timely and effective way," said spokeswoman Tara Darrow.

Consumers should take the cups away from young children and contact Starbucks at 888-288-4008 for instructions on returning the cups for a refund. Starbucks is offering a complimentary beverage as an incentive to return the recalled cups, which cost about $6.

It is the largest of four recalls by Starbucks in recent years, according to the CPSC web site. The agency's consumer hotline is 800-638-2772.

Last year, Starbucks recalled about 73,000 stainless steel 8-cup coffee brewers that had defective electrical wiring. No injuries were reported with those products.

In 2005, it recalled about 257 ceramic teapots that were labeled as safe for microwave use but had bamboo handles that became hot enough in microwaves to pose a burn hazard.

In 2003, the company recalled about 38,000 plastic tumbler cups shaped like bears that were sold in the U.S., Canada and Taiwan. Straws on the cups posed a choking hazard to young children.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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