Starbucks Puts Dead Beetles in Frappuccinos

Categories: Beet Reporter
beet_reporter.jpg
Which would you rather drink: chemical coloring, beet juice, or dead bugs?

Apparently, Starbucks thought you'd pick that last option.

In an effort to remove artificial ingredients from its menu, Starbucks recently replaced the food dye in its Strawberry Frappuccinos with a "natural" substitute: beetle juice.

The stuff is actually called "carmine," and it's what you get when you take red cochineal beetles, dry them out, and pulverize them. Carmine is used in a lot of everyday products, including yogurts, juices, cosmetics, and meats (to give brown aging beef a "fresh" bloody look, for example).

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Zyance
Female cochineal beetles. Don't you just want to stir them into your coffee?
Until a little over a year ago, we didn't even know what foods contained the beetle dust. The FDA passed a law in January of last year mandating that food companies stop using blanket terms like "color added," or "natural and artificial colors" to mask the fact that they contained carmine.

News of Starbucks' switcheroo reportedly got out when a concerned barista noticed the change in ingredients and started spreading the word to warn her unsuspecting Frappuccino-slurping vegan friends.

Of course ethical vegans are unhappy about Starbucks' decision to swap chemicals for bug dust. PETA has actually plugged Starbucks in the past for having food and beverage options that are suitable for vegans on the go. I doubt their response to the swap will be congratulatory, especially since it takes 70,000 crushed female cochineal beetles to produce just one pound of the dye, according to PETA's website.

Rae Indigo, Miami vegan and director at the American Nutrition Institute, was less than enthused to hear about Starbucks' decision-making.

"It is unfortunate that Starbucks chose to use beetles for coloring, and unusual for them to misread the public appetite for insects," she said. "I expect a bit more integrity from an industry leader."

I personally give props to Starbucks for trying to get rid of artificial additives, but what I don't get is why the company would take such a misguided approach - swapping one evil for another. Why would they overlook cruelty-free (and creepy crawly-free) options like black carrot, purple sweet potato, paprika, or of course, my namesake, beet? To make matters worse, ABC News reported that the World Health Organization found carmine to cause asthma and allergic reactions in some people. (Beet juice doesn't do that!)

Whether you're a vegan who used to enjoy Starbucks' soy Strawberry Frappuccinos, or you just want to slow down the bug slaying, there's a petition you can sign to make your opinion heard.

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12 comments
Raw512
Raw512

This is fucking discusting

shuthole
shuthole

The portrayal of widespread personal detachment and self-entitlement suggested by comment responses is always worse than the content of disheartening posts like this.

GOOD JOB YA FUCKIN ASSHATS

YOU'VE PERFORMED AND ASSERTED YOURSELVES AS THE MOST PREVALENT MODERN CLICHE

You fucking innovators.

You don't need NUFFIN AND YOU GOT SOMETHIN TO SAY ABOUT THAT. BEETLES IS WHATEVER AND THEY'RE NOT BEETLES ANYWAY.

YOU'RE STRONG AND YOU DO WHAT YOU WANT! NOBODY ELSE TELLS YOU. YOU DO STUFF YOU LIKE. MAKE SURE UVER PEOPLE KNOW ON THE BLOG COMMENTS

Shit rolls uphill how would it be that some percentage of the decision makers at Starbucks regarding this isn't these sorts of limbed turds just embarrassingly functioning in our facesFUCK STARBUCKS ANYWAY

Starbucks do what it want

Jimmy Boom
Jimmy Boom

Soy strawberry frappucino: You realize the product in question sounds like a ridiculous crowd pleaser, not designed to be ordered by anyone who cares about their health anyway. I mean, its a made up weird unnatural product to begin with. I’ll just have a coffee, thanks.

Molly Rabbit
Molly Rabbit

Cochineal insects are not, not, not, beetles! Some idiot on the internet defined them that way, and you journalists who can't be bothered to look anything up keep publishing this.

answeringcall
answeringcall

pretty soon there will be a class action suit. The american way.

Keith
Keith

Cochineal are not beetles.  They are animals related to aphids,scale insects and white flies.

ConcernedEater
ConcernedEater

I have a simple solution to this problem. Stop going to starbucks. Thats it. If you dont like what they use in their drinks, dont drink them anymore. Instead people go out and rant and rave and start a petition instead of the good ole fashioned not buying that product anymore. Vegans are a very very tiny subset of the overall food market. dont expect that everyone has to bow down to your choice in food. maybe some of us like having the beetle juice in there. I am going to start a petition to make sure they keep the beetle juice. 

Mike Davis
Mike Davis

Yum! Can I get some extra beetle cracklins on my frap!? Oh, make that a skinny frap.

Dude, what?
Dude, what?

Do you have tourettes? I love the post, but I do find it hard to read.. just a tad and it comes off as though you can't control your screaming.  Also, limbed turds is the best insult I've heard today.

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