Some Starbucks customers bugging out over frappuccino ingredient
CNN - An ingredient that makes Starbucks' Strawberry Frappuccino pink has some people seeing red. The grande Starbucks strawberries & creme frappuccino tastes terrific and has a beautiful pink hue -- courtesy of crushed insects.
A barista at a Starbucks, who's vegan, recently divulged that the strawberries and creme frappuccino is colored- using cochineal extract: the ground-up bodies of cochineal insects, native to South America. The barista then gave that information to a vegan news-site, run by Daelyn Fortney, who says she's shocked. "We were told that the any-way-you-wanted frappuccinos when made with soy milk were completely safe for vegans."
A Starbucks spokeswoman says the company never claimed the drink was vegan-friendly. Starbucks didn't want to put anyone on-camera and didn't want anyone filming in its stores but company spokesmen did tell us, they started using cochineal extract to move away from some dyes and other artificial ingredients. They also noted that the extract is FDA-approved and that it would never do anything to harm its customers.
As for the customers we spoke with. "It is still technically all-natural. It is still probably organic. We use bugs in all sorts of things. I'm not terribly surprised or concerned."
After all, bugs have been a staple of nutrition for years, on discovery channel's 'man vs. Wild.' You can just eat them eat them raw.
Starbucks officials also point out, products like juices, made by other companies, have the same insect extract in them.
But according to the World Health Organization, there have been instances where cochineal extract is believed to have caused asthma attacks and allergic reactions.
Renowned nutritionist Katherine Tallmadge also warns of those symptoms however, she says nutritionally it's fine. "But anytime a restaurant puts an ingredient in a food, it should be disclosed," said Tallmadge.
Tallmadge says the cups seen by customers should disclose that the strawberry frappuccino has insect extract in it. Right now only the boxes of liquid mixture used by the baristas behind the counters have those labels.