Starbucks' Frap in a Flap Over Dye With Insects

Crushed cochineal bugs make it pink, angering vegans

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 27, 2012 2:39 PM CDT

(Newser) – Note to vegans—and those grossed out by bugs: Starbucks' Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino is colored with insects. It gets its pink color from cochineal extract, which comes from ground-up cochineal bugs native to Mexico and South America. The coloring is nothing new: It's been used since the 15th century, ABC News reports, and it's present in everything from marinades to cheddar cheese.

The FDA says it's safe, though the World Health Organization says it can cause asthma or an allergic reaction. Starbucks' use of the stuff first made headlines after This Dish Is Veg reported on it. The site contacted Starbucks, which issued a statement citing a "goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products. While the strawberry base isn’t a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes." The website links to a Change.org petition calling for Starbucks to switch to a natural dye that's fine for vegans "and those who don't want crushed bugs in their designer drink."

The Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino.
The Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino.   (Starbucks.com)
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