Bugging Out At Starbucks

Those who hanker for a little bug in their Frappuccino are going to have to start hitting shops other than Starbucks. The coffee colossus announced last week that they will stop using cochineal extract, a food dye made from crushed up bugs, in two beverage items and four food items. In its place will be lycopene, a tomato-based extract that is used for food coloring.

Your new and improved bug-free items include:

  • Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino
  • Strawberry Banana Smoothies
  • Raspberry Swirl Cake
  • Birthday Cake Pop
  • Mini Donut with pink icing
  • Red Velvet Whoopie Pie

Like many other food-based changes that companies are being forced to make lately, this one came about after a social media backlash and internet petition drive. On the bad side, the FDA (you know, the “Gulf seafood is yummies” folks) still has no problem with cochineal extract, and you can still expect to find it in items ranging from yogurts and candies to ketchup and lipstick. Companies using it in their products are supposed to say so on their labels, so check carefully for cochineal extract, as well as pseudonyms such as carmine and crimson lake (my personal euphemistic fav).


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