Government guidelines say coffee cannot be considered decaffeinated unless it has 5 milligrams of caffeine or less per 5-ounce cup. But an ABC News investigation revealed that some servings of decaf coffees contained as much caffeine as espresso.
ABC News ordered 33 5-ounce cups of decaf coffee coast to coast and tested their caffeine levels at the Sanipure Food Laboratories in Saddle Brook, N.J.
"We should see caffeine levels in brewed decaffeinated coffee somewhere between 1 and 5 milligrams per 5-ounce cup," said Sanipure's Ron Schnitzer.
Some Starbucks decaf coffee turned out to have high amounts of caffeine.
In three cups of decaf coffee bought at a Starbucks in New York City on the same day, one cup had 87.33 milligrams of caffeine. One of three cups of coffee bought at a Starbucks in Hollywood. Calif., contained 95.39 milligrams of caffeine, which is more caffeine than you get in espresso, according to Sanipure.
ABC News also found high levels of caffeine in decaf cups of coffee from McDonald's. One cup purchased at a McDonald's in Chicago contained 59.5 milligrams of caffeine.
McDonald's issued the following statement: "This was an unfortunate isolated incident. … We believe human error was responsible."
Starbucks said: "The specific stores that you profiled as serving the wrong beverage were … reminded about the importance of order accuracy."