I’ve heard umpteen complaints about the number of calories in Starbucks’ Strawberries and Creme Frappuccinos, but the more important question to ask now is ‘How many bugs are in that blender?’
A vegetarian/vegan website recently broke the news that the mix used in Starbucks Strawberries & Creme Frappuccinos contains cochineal extract, red dye that’s created by crushing up dried Cochineal Insects (pictured to the left.)
According to the Starbucks barista who leaked the details to This Dish is Vegetarian, the drink used to be on Starbucks’ vegan menu, but the recipe recently changed to incorporate the bugs.
“My guess would be that the recipe changed about three or four weeks ago, when our strawberry sauce got new packaging,” the barista told the website. “I was hoping you guys could help get the word out there so that no vegans end up drinking this formerly vegan Frappucino by mistake!”
Cochineal bugs have been used for centuries by artisans to make clothing, but its usage in food products is a little less mainstream.
A spokesperson for Starbucks didn’t deny the report.
“At Starbucks, we strive to carry products that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles and needs. We also have the goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products,” the spokesperson said. “While the strawberry base isn’t a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes.”
Cochineal extract is FDA approved, but it has been linked to asthma and has caused allergic reactions. Despite FDA’s mandate that anyone who uses the extract must label it–whether in food products or cosmetics–most people, like myself until hearing of this, have never heard of it.