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Group Sues Starbucks Over Tea Ingredient
Claims Company Adds Ephedrine To Tazo Chai Tea
Posted: 8:26 p.m. PDT September 6, 2001
Updated: 8:53 p.m. PDT September 6, 2001

LOS ANGELES – You may be getting a bigger high from your Tazo Chai Tea than you think, according to a group that sued Starbucks Thursday.

The Council For Education And Research On Toxics claims that the Seattle-based company has been secretly adding ephedrine to Tazo Chai Tea, a violation of health and safety codes.

“Our comment at this time is that we have no information because we have not seen the complaint, nor are we aware of any complaint,” Audrey Lincoff of Starbucks told news wires. She declined talk about ingredients in Tazo Chai Tea.

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges Starbucks has sold Tazo Chai Tea in a form containing ephedrine since at least 1996. The company did not disclose that the tea contained the substance, according to the suit.

Ephedrine is an amphetamine-like drug known to stimulate the heart and central nervous system. Ephedra is a Chinese herb, also called Ma Huang, from which the drug is extracted.

“Defendants have exposed countless unsuspecting persons within the state of California who purchased and consumed ‘Tazo Chai Tea’ to ephedrine,” the suit alleges.

News wires reported that the group wants a restraining order against Starbucks barring the sale of the tea and for profits from the tea disgorged.