Flickr Creative Commons // Basheer Tome
Ever wonder what gives the Strawberry Frappuccino at Starbucks its bright pink color? Bet you didn’t guess crushed insects…
That’s right, the national beverage chain admits they use cochineal extract in some of their product, which is made from dried, crushed bug carcasses.
This has especially angered vegans, who may have unknowingly consumed the insect byproduct in dairy-free, but not bug-free, Frappuccinos. An online petition at Change.org already has more than 3,000 signatures.
The FDA began requiring that companies inform customers of cochineal extract use in their foods in 2009, citing the potential for allergic reaction. Starbucks said they list nutritional information on their website.
Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson said:
“… the strawberry base for our Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino does contain cochineal extract, a common natural dye that is used in the food industry, and it helps us move away from artificial ingredients.”
…which is true. Starbucks may be getting the criticism spotlight at the moment, but they aren’t the only company using the extract. In fact, cochineal extract can be found in wine, fabric, candy, yogurt and even lipstick.
This may just be the next “pink slime” media storm, but at least consumers are becoming more aware of what they are actually consuming.