Vegan alert: Starbucks drinks contain cochineal

A couple of years ago, vegans were pleased when Starbucks changed its frappuccino mix so that the ingredients were dairy-free. However, taking out the dairy didn’t make one of their frappuccinos vegan-friendly.
A couple of years ago, vegans were pleased when Starbucks changed its frappuccino mix so that the ingredients were dairy-free. However, taking out the dairy didn’t make one of their frappuccinos vegan-friendly.

Oh Bugs!

A vegan barrista at Starbucks found cochineal extract in the ingredients list for the strawberry sauce used in the strawberries-and-cream frappuccinos. Haven’t heard of cochineal extract? It is made from ground-up insects that are indigenous to Latin America. The barrista sent a picture of the ingredients list to the vegetarian blog ThisDishIsVegetarian.com last month to show her disdain.

Bugs are more natural

According to Prepared Foods, a spokesman for Starbucks says cochineal is preferred over artificial ingredients.

“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,” said spokesman
Jim Olson.

Anything red at Starbucks is suspect

Before you order your next Starbucks specialty, be warned that cochineal extract is also used in the strawberry smoothies, red velvet whoopie pies, and other foods and drinks. A visit to Starbucks.com will give you the list of items and nutritional values — but does not offer a look at the ingredients.

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