Starbucks Pisses Off Vegans

Whether you're a vegan or not, the idea of eating crushed up bugs is kind of upsetting—and yet a lot of us do it regularly and don't even realize it. Wait, we do? Yes, the bugs in question are used to make something called cochineal extract, which is actually a pretty common product used to dye foods like yogurt and juice pink or red. Starbucks recently started using cochineal extract in its Strawberries and Creme Frappuccinos and red velvet whoopee pies. They did this after customers insisted that Starbucks start to use natural ingredients whenever possible. While it's not exactly appetizing, cochineal extract is natural, being made from ground-up insects and all.

But a vegan barista at Starbucks noticed the ingredient change and alerted the vegans of the internet, who are now mad at Starbucks for using the extract and demanding they stop. Jim Olsen, spokesman for Starbucks, kind of can't win here, but he gamely made a statement anyway in which he said, "This is an alternative to other synthetic red dyes that are out there." He continued, "We certainly respect and understand the interest this is getting, but it is a very common ingredient in foods and juices and beverages." Which can probably be loosely translated in non-corporate-employee-speak as "What they hell do you people want from us? To dye our drinks with our own tears of frustration?"

Starbucks draws flak over dye made from bugs [MSNBC]