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March 29th, 2012
10:25 PM ET

Food coloring controversy is not so rosy

Some people are freaking out after finding out that their favorite Frappuccino is colored by bugs. The Strawberries & Crème blended beverage at Starbucks contains cochineal extract.

Image courtesy Starbucks

The coloring additive gives the drink its pretty pink hue.

A cochineal, by the way, is an insect.

And guess what... this drink is not the only place you will find it. Until 2009, companies could put it on their ingredients list as "natural coloring."

Now the FDA requires the specific labeling of cochineal extract, sometimes called carmine.

The alternative is artificial. Usually Red Dye #40. That is derived from petroleum. Yum!

So, bugs or oil? Neither sounds appetizing. Both come with their own health concerns.

Artificial dyes, like Red 40, are reportedly linked to hyperactivity. The Word Health Organizations says cochineal extract can cause asthma or allergic reactions for some people. And others do not consume it for ethical or religious reasons.

The problem, in my opinion, is that Starbucks made the choice for its customers and then failed to inform them. That - not the dye - leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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Filed under: General • Over and Out There
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. FedUp2

    I'd thought I'd start before that hardcore veggiehead gets here, talking about the elite .001% of knowledgable folks like her that only exist in CA, along with the other nutty-nutersons. Nobody does that kind of research, but for those of you regular folks that consider yourself non-animal eater, go look up carapace right now. It's everywhere and most likely you've eaten it.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:20 am | Reply
  2. rose

    Are people just now learning that red dyes are made out of bugs? I've known that since I was 8 years old! also, why is everyone yelling at Starbucks? Pretty much every company in the world uses cochineal as red food coloring.

    March 31, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply

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