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A Bug’s Life? Starbucks Accused Of Putting Insect Dye In Drinks

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File photo of a Starbucks shop. (credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a Starbucks shop. (credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) – Starbucks hopes its coffee drinkers don’t bug out.

According to a vegan news blog, the Seattle-based coffee chain is using insects for its red dye in strawberry frappuccinos and smoothies that are marked as vegan drinks.

A barista who allegedly works for a Starbucks in the Midwest wrote to ThisDishIsVegetarian.com about the insect that’s used.

“I wanted to let you guys know that the Strawberries and Cream Frappucinos (sic) and Strawberry Smoothies at Starbucks are NOT vegan,” she wrote to the blog. “The strawberry sauce we use contains ‘cochineal extract.’ My guess would be that the recipe changed about three or four weeks ago, when our strawberry sauce got new packaging.”

Cochineal extract is a red dye made from dried bodies of female cochineal insects.

Starbucks sent the blog a statement saying that the company’s “goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products.”

“Many Starbucks ingredients can be combined to create a beverage free from animal-derived products; however, we are unable to guarantee this due to the potential cross-contamination with other animal-derived products in our retail locations,” Starbucks told the blog. CBS Seattle has reached out to Starbucks for comment.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved this type of insect dye for consumption.

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