SEATTLE — Starbucks is facing criticism from vegetarians for its revelation that crushed beetles are used as a natural food additive in the chain’s strawberry-flavoured drinks such as Frappuccinos.
“At Starbucks, we strive to carry products that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles and needs,” reads Starbucks official statement on the subject. “We also have the 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 company is trying to reduce the use of artificial ingredients in its products and uses a red dye made out of dried, crushed, female cochineal beetles.
Cochineal extract is an additive found in a number of food and cosmetic products deemed safe by the FDA. However, The World Health Organization has found the extract may cause severe allergic reactions and asthma in some individuals. For those who keep Kosher, cochineal extract is considered an unacceptable food additive.