Mia, who says she has more than 50 allergies and goes by @theallergicgirl on TikTok, described the recent experience in a video which has since been viewed more than 100,000 times. In the three-minute clip, Mia said she was “debating” on making a video about her recent Starbucks trip, but decided to share her experience in an effort to call attention to the issues faced by people with severe food allergies.
She explained that she enjoys ordering from her two trusted Starbucks locations, which do a great deal at accommodating her allergy requests. However, Mia was in the Back Bay neighbourhood of Boston when she decided to take a chance on a different Starbucks location, considering the chain’s historical “great job” at accommodating her allergies.
When she ordered her drink at the counter, she told the worker about her severe food allergies and asked for her drink to be made in a “santised” shaker. For those who were unaware, Mia explained that a drink is considered sanitised if it’s made in a freshly-cleaned or unused shaker. This prevents her drink from being cross-contaminated with other ingredients like coconut or almond milk, which could send her to the hospital.
The person at the check-out counter was very understanding of Mia’s request, and added a label on the cup that her drink must be sanitised for the other baristas to see.
As she waited for her order in the pick-up area, she observed the barista behind the counter to make sure they properly sanitised her drink. She noticed the barista assigned to her order asked his co-worker what a sanitised request meant, and the fellow employee replied: “Do what you think is best.”
The barista proceeded to rinse out the Starbucks shaker with cold water, which Silverman pointed out is “not the same thing as sanitising”. When she was handed her drink order, she confronted the barista and asked whether it was properly sanitised, to which he said: “I did the best I could.”
“I tossed the drink in the trash because I was not going to risk my life for that,” she concluded the video, and asked the Boston Starbucks location to “do better.”
The viral video prompted many Starbucks customers to rally behind Mia, and urged the specific location take allergy requests more seriously. “I work in food service and food allergies do make things a little bit more complicated but it’s literally my job, and it’s not hard to pay attention,” one person commented.
“Always take orders seriously,” another user wrote. “They shouldn’t have to state their allergies, workers should just do the right thing. You never know.”
“As a barista running to the back to sanitise or get a new one takes literally 20 seconds,” one TikToker shared.
Another fellow barista wrote: “I literally have no issue doing this for customers. It quite literally takes like a minute to sanitise a shaker.”
Some users defended the Starbucks worker, while others clarified that the popular coffee chain cannot guarantee that there will be no cross-contamination with any of its other products.
“It sounds like the guy was just confused. If you saw him do it wrong, tell him exactly what you want,” one TikToker wrote.
“I work at Starbucks and we’re supposed to tell everyone that we can’t guarantee there’s no cross-contamination, they should’ve just told you that,” claimed another user.
“This is so wrong on Starbucks’ part but as an ex-barista we can never guarantee that anything is allergen free,” a third person shared. “Be safe”.
The Independent has contacted Mia and Starbucks for comment.