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Toxic Shocker: It Was Not a Tampon in LAPD Officer’s Starbucks Cup

Plus, meet Gigi Hadid’s pasta artist, and more news to start your day

A paper cup with a Starbucks-branded cardboard sleeve sits on a wooden counter as obscured baristas work in the background of a Starbucks coffee shop. Harun Ozmen/Shutterstock

This won’t surprise you if you’ve seen a tampon before, but...

In late June, an off-duty LAPD officer accused an employee at a Starbucks — located inside a Target in Diamond Bar, CA, — of putting a tampon in his drink after he paid with a police union debit card. A reporter tweeted an image of the alleged tampon and the incident went viral, with police advocates claiming that this was yet another (since debunked) assault on our nation’s law enforcement. The L.A. Police Protective League called it a “disgusting assault on a police officer ... carried out by someone with hatred in their heart and who lacks human decency.”

Target immediately investigated footage from the time the unidentified officer was having his drink prepared and discovered no misconduct. Meanwhile, outlets like Jezebel and Vice did their own investigations into the likelihood that the decidedly not-tampon-looking mass of cotton found in the drink could indeed be a tampon, and landed on the side of no, likely not.

On July 29, following a investigation, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released the findings of its own findings: “Based on the evidence available at this time, the item in the drink was possibly a cleaning type cloth commonly used by store employees.” Glad it took a month to discover what pretty much anyone who’s used a tampon before could tell you in seconds.

Similar incidents of police accusing food workers of tampering with their food despite lack of evidence have played out across the country: In June, a police labor union reportedly started a false rumor that three officers were intentionally poisoned at a Manhattan Shake Shack. Around the same time, a Georgia deputy was widely mocked after posting a tearful video because her Starbucks coffee order was not ready when she arrived, causing her to suspect foul play.


  • Meet the artist behind Gigi Hadid’s pasta decor. [Refinery 29]
  • A video of comedian Nigel Ng, known by his persona “Uncle Roger,” reacting to BBC food personality Hersha Patel cooking rice has fueled further conversations about cultural erasure in the recipe world. [CNN]
  • Sadly but unsurprisingly, restaurants are taking a beating as coronavirus cases surge. [CNBC]
  • News you can’t really use: Here’s the most popular Disney Parks food from the year you were born. [Delish]
  • 30 million Americans did not get enough to eat last week. [Bloomberg]


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