Dried, crushed cochineal beetles add the red tint to Starbucks' strawberry and cream cappucino. The Food and Drug Administration says they're safe to consume, but vegetarians are awfully bugged out by the revelation.
Previously - Health department bugs out over grasshopper tacos and I scream, you scream, we all scream when there are cicadas in the ice cream
I'll stick with my Newmans Own for 99cents from McDonalds any day, thanks. I also didn't realize being vegetarian included not eating bugs....must have skipped that chapter
They never claimed the item was vegetarian or vegan, folks.
Seems better to me than some petroleum based coloring additive. Seems much ado about nothing.
Of course, there's always the question, why do we colorize our foods to begin with? Apparently, we're used to it now, and have come to expect it.
Why do we color? Because some fat cat with an MBA, a PhD in marketing and no contact with the outside world decided the "common man" would buy more of product "X" if it was a more vibrant color.
And that would be a great sarcastic point...if it wasn't true. Color sells. Come on man
They color because they conduct extensive market research with the consumer that indicates the consumers would buy more if it were colored. We buy with our eyes.
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If you do not take the time to inform yourself about where your food is coming from and what it contains then you deserve whatever upsetting revelations may come your way. Being a responsible consumer can take a little bit of time, but believe me, it is time well spent. Assumptions get you nowhere. Never have.
Crushed cochineal beetles have been used to color things red for decades. Women, if you're wearing red lipstick, or red blusher, guess what? It comes from the cochineal beetle. BTW only female cochineal beetles are used to make red coloring. You like that extra red looking meat in the meat department, it's colored with dye from the cochineal beetle. After a few hours meat turns brown because that's what happens with blood. And it's the blood that gives it it's red color, until they dye it to make certain it stays red.
Vegetarians, you've been eating meat for years. Ever had fries at a fast food restaurant, particularly McDonalds or Burger King. They add beef flavoring to give it that extra flavor ingredient.
Lots of things vegetarians eat and buy in grocery stores have meat-based flavorings. It is extremely hard to be a vegetarian in today's world.
It's been know for a long time that there is only one way to "know" your food sources, grow it yourself.
It's not even difficult, but tending crops does cut into a busy socialite's schedule.
Is there anything more embarrassing than civilization's acceptance of artificial food colorings? Are we really all such idiots that we would refuse to drink a brown strawberry cappuccino? Whether it's made of bugs or not, it's both incredibly hilarious and appalling when you consider just how many food items are produced with artificial colors for absolutely no other reason than to adhere to our almost religious devotion to certain foods/flavors and their neon colors.
Being a veggie has nothing to do with religion unless you are hindu. Many Christians, Jews, Buddhists are veggies too.
I think you completely misread his statement.
This is a hoot! Vegans have been imagining that the Starbucks coffee drink was vegan because it was made with Soy, even though Starbucks never said it was vegan, or even vegetarian. That's what you get for making assumptions – bugs in your drink. Bwaaahahahahahaha
Eat Klingon, it's the only way to go. Live eels are best prepared and served the Klingon way!
Meat is plants – second-hand.
Ok this is stupid. This food coloring is used in just about ANYTHING that is red out there.. For Starbucks to be singled out is just plain madness. If Vegans have an issue with this they better start eating everything home grown because this food coloring is allowed in "organic" products as well.
Unfortunately, you are correct.
Here's some other interesting info. of what can be in food:
Once I did a report on prevalence of entomophagy (bug eating) and learned there are bug parts in more than just food dyes. Thus, I really didn't believe you could ever be a true vegetarian/vegan. Honey has bee parts, nut butters and fresh veggies always will have trace amounts of insect material/deposits, the list goes on... The FDA allows a trace amount in lots of foods. Our ancestors ate more of them and survived, so I don't really see the bug fuss. No one complains about the yeast bacteria or yogurt organisms either. If one day we learn plants have feelings (new study says grasscut smell is a distress call), would we be up in arms against vegetarians/vegans being cruel? Although I do have to say the bottom line is we should only eat as much as we need considering the famines in other parts of the world.
That's just plain wrong. That would be like Manischewitz admitting to using pork in some products because it "just has that flavor."
Did Starbucks claim the drink was Kosher or Vegan? No. They state that it is among their caffeine-free beverage offerings only. If it's important that you have dietary guarantees in what you consume, do your homework and don't blame the company because you didn't ask the right questions.
The odd thing about this use of insects for creating red dye, as well as shellac which is also from insects, is that in the past 10 years – anything with red dye gives me heartburn. I only found out this year about shellac being used as a red food dye. Apparently my body gets really irked about it. Drinks are where it's the worse. For a while I thought it was corn syrup or citric acid but when it happened with koolaid (w/sugar), I was back to square one. The only link between all the products was red food dye.
Just because it's natural doesn't make it better. Mercury and lead are natural, too. Officially where do vegetarians and vegans draw the line. Insects are not animals. So if any living thing is off limits, I guess they're against anti-biotics. Bacteria are living things, too...
Insects are indeed animals. What school did you go to?
The amount of beetle biological material that you would eat, even if you were a big fan of these products, is less than the amount of spider biological material you eat as a result of them crawling into your mouth during sleep.
Get over it.
That's funny! They use them in all kinds of food dyes and have for hundreds of years. Probably better than artificial. But not better than real strawberries. :(
Wow – this gives new meaning to the word "Beetlejuice" and I don't mean the movie. Someone please tell me what being a vegan has to do with this issue! The subject matter strictly points out an ingredient's source, no matter how gross it is. Again and nonetheless the ingredient's source has nothing to do with being a vegetarian. How did this issue get so twisted? I guess that I would rather have this type of source, then some man-made chemical that would not be natural for us to consume. This is not an episode of "Survivor," just an unknown fact that was disclosed to the public. Chill out people, the world we live in is stressful enough as it is and this factoid doesn't even make it to the scale of a real "problem." Really – if you were sick would you not take penicillin because of it's source? There, case closed.
It sounds like this isn't a vegan or vegetarian issue at all, but rather a consumer issue. I don't believe bugs are considered a meat product and it sounds like the real outrage is that of people who want to know what it is they are consuming. If people are truly worried about what they are consuming then make the extra effort and do your research. Also remember, that several standards for fruit and vegetable, and grain packing are downright disgusting, but deemed "acceptable" to the USDA, such as maggots in mushrooms, animal and insect feces in spices and cocoa, bug parts in about everything, and "foreign matter" which can include, get this, cigarette butts. So let's not make this a vegan/vegetarian issue; whether it's to attack these people or for these people to try and make the "no meat lifestyle" appear to be wholesome and clean. People are too sensitive to everything nowadays and are ready to be up in arms at the slightest inclination of something "odd". Do your research, allow others to live their lifestyle without judgement and let's all try not to be so darn obnoxious.
Like others have pointed out these beetles have been used for hundreds of years as coloring for red velvet cake, and hundreds of more foods. If you have a dietary constraint that is self imposed or worse yet is life threatening like a peanut allergy then it is your responsibility to know what is going into your food. Did they say that there were bugs in it? No. Did they say there were NOT bugs in it no again.
And to the person saying that the FDA doesnt have the best track record of safety for the public, try going to a country that doesnt have an FDA equivilent. Its like playing russian roulette with food and medicine and no one to blame if you get a bad medicine becasue there is no approval process.
The Food and Drug Administration doesn't have the best track record of putting the public's safety first. For example, they see no reason that labeling should show "pink slime" in meat products. They are clearly influenced by the food industry lobbyists. Anyway, I'm using this to cook more myself!! Found a great vegetarian cookbook: Sacred Food for Soulful Living by Ward Bauman. Great stuff. Food is always better at home! http://www.bookinitnow.com/product/sacred-food-soulful-living
Pink slime is just very finley ground (read puree'd )meat. Ground to the point that it is like pudding. Just becasue someone named it something nasty sounding doesnt change it. Its just meat in a diferent format mixed with other meat. People will get mad at this and still eat head cheese or scrapple or even hotdogs. The Beetles have been used a lot longer than pink s;lime and the cake still taastes just as good and it is no better or worse for you just because you know about it.
i don't recall starbucks ever making a claim as to serving vegan drinks? no, you won't suspect them to have bugs in their strawberry frap, but if you don't ask if it's vegan than you can't know for sure. if you don't want to accidently consume something, ask first, don't just assume. it's your diet, do your research.
Sorry Salley, Let's be real! I am a vegan and most of the time these establishments do not know what the ingrediants that are in the drinks or food you are buying. I am sure that prior to this whole thing coming out they did not know that the red tint to Starbucks' strawberry and cream cappucino was crushed cochineal beetles. It is not that simple.
I agree, Terry, let's do be real . . your typical SB employee doesn't have in-depth knowledge of the every ingredient in their beverages because only the fringe element (or those with odd allergies) would actually care. I can't spend my limited supply of outrage over something so trivial.
The idea that a dye in my drink or food comes from an insect sounds gross at first, but I don't have any rational, logical reason to object. If it simply comes down to "Well, I'm vegan and won't consume any amount of any animal product, end of story," then I guess you best avoid SB. If I'm an SB exec I'm not too vexed over .01 percent of my customer base revolting if using bug coloring is cheaply improving my product.
In the real world, life is full of surprises. If it doesn't say vegan on the menu, it probably isn't.
Get over it already folks! You'll eat worse than that before you die. Besides, if you are eating 'organic produce' trust me when i say you have eaten the occasional bug. It ain't gonna kill ya! Is it the killing of the bugs that concerns you? Heck we have far worse things in this world to be up in arms about. I suggest you quit paying $5 for a cup of coffee and make your own. Then you will know what goes into it. If you go get any food out somewhere, you will never know for sure what made it into your meal, and oftentimes neither will the person who prepared it. So go get some real problems.
Gosh, it's just the topic of the conversation. Nothing to be freaked out about.
The same vegetarians probably would have no problem drinking a big cup of kopi luwak coffee. Nummynummy, monkey-cat turds!
If you need attention go to a comedy club with your jokes, your rude comments are not adding to the conversation at all.
So says someone with such an intelligent name. Vegetarians and vegans will always find something to complain about, while happily using a plethora of products containing animal products.
Dude! Do you hate vegetarians too?? I can;t stand people who don;t have a fat ass like me from scarfing back Mcdonald's! Losers!
Mainly vegans. I went vegetarian for a month just to see if I could do it. Missed a good steak too much.
I also hate them because they don't love Jesus enough and drive a Dodge Ram.
Not at almost $400/lb .... that might upset them. :P
I am shocked at how many people are attacking vegans (I am not a vegan) for being upset that Starbucks has been putting meat/bug juice in their products. I had no idea Starbucks or Tropicana put bugs in their drinks until I saw it on the news. Never in a million years would I have thought there might be fish in my beer, until someone made me aware of the clarifying process. 100% Fruit juice should contain only fruit, not food coloring made out of bugs. If it contains a food coloring not made from fruit they should not be allowed to make you believe you are buying pure fruit juice or a fruit juice blend. Seriously, unless you saw the story in the news when it was a big controversy years ago, how would you know about the small amount of bugs, mouse droppings, hairs etc. that are legally allowed to accidentally enter the process during the making of peanut butter? I am sure the majority of people would agree that it is one thing to know things happen by accident, or that you may breath in a bug while you sleep or eat a dog hair at your own home. It is however a totally different story to find out someone is purposefully putting bugs or other unknown or unexpected ingredients into your food and calling it "food coloring" or a "clarifying agent". It is no wonder people find themselves allergic to things and they can not figure out why. I would like to see more public awareness of these deceitful practices. I would like to see all companies have to label their products in a way that "any idiot" could read the label and understand exactly what is in the product. It took me a while to figure out my sore, peeling and swollen lips were do to an allergy to Vitamin E in a "chap stick" type product I had been using for years. In searching for a replacement lip moisturizer I learned that there are half a dozen different names used for Vitamin E in topically applied products. It shouldn't be this way. There should be a more strict standard for listing simple ingredients like Vitamin E so I don't have to carry a list of possible names around in my wallet when I shop for lotions, shampoos, makeup, sunscreen etc.... How about the food coloring should say Plant based, animal based etc... at least that would possibly have prompted someone to ask "what kind of food coloring is made out of animals?" The clarifying agent should say fish or seafood based clarifying agent. How about Pink Slime? The maker claims it is "beef". OK, it is beef, but it is heated and chemically treated so in my mind it should not be in my "fresh ground beef". 1) it isn't fresh after being heated and processed and 2) it has ammonia in it so it is more then just beef and that should be on the label! Being unaware that companies sneak freaky things into your food does not make people stupid nor does it mean they "probably didn't finish high school" and those people who make such ignorant and hate filled statements should shut their pie holes because nobody wants to listen to your hate and stupidity! Some of us are hear to learn and share information.
People tend to not like vegans because many vegans are arrogant, preachy, self serving, egotistical self righteous douchebags.
Yet you feel the need to reply to many of the comments here. Plus you do so with this bizarre seething resentment. Did a vegan dump you? Were you abused as a child by a carrot?
i'm vegan and i'm not all those nasty things you just lumped us all into. just trying to live with as much compassion as possible.
People tend to not like vegans because many vegans are arrogant, preachy, self serving, egotistical self righteous d-bags.
Yes, and meat -eaters can be deranged and cruel. Your point?
I just read that these bugs are processed by a numerous different methods of boiling either in water, ammonia or a sodium carbonate solution to extract the colorant and in every case alum is added and sometimes Stannous chloride, citric acid, borax, or gelatin may be added to get the correct color and stabilize the color........ It is not just bug juice, there are several chemicals involved in the processing of these bugs and that, to me, takes it way farther then just the icky gross out factor. How is it "natural" to process anything with chemicals? One thinks of a label of being natural as also being more healthy and closer to the raw food itself but you can't eat or drink ammonia, it will make you sick or kill you!
What do you consume that you think is chemical free?
I am so glad you graduated High School,Yet flunked Spelling class. Thank You for playing Troll. Your Community Library has English classes available for all illiterates. You do have a Library Card?
You are describing a characteristic of the human race, not just vegans.
@shawn l you are describing a characteristic of humans in general, not just vegans.
None so much as a vegan. How do you know if someone is a vegan? Within the first 10 minutes of meeting them they will bring it up.
I think it's acceptable for people to state they are vegans when they meet someone new. It notifies the individual that there is a limit as to what kinds of foods they eat. After all, eating is pretty much one of the common things to do when socializing. Just like when my husband, when we first met, told me that he was allergic to tomatoes. That then ruled out a lot of pasta-dominated restaurants on my mind for a first date.
Nobody cares what your dietary habits are besides yourself and your family.
Regarding labeling, suppose I care whether my milk came from a black cow or a white cow ... suppose I think it makes a difference? Should milk producers then be required to state that on the label? If only a nut would think it matters, why have that requirement?
Yes, it's just Nutty to care about what goes into your body...but, gosh, I wonder if there's a connection between food and the high rate of cancer..Nah!!
Overall I don't really care that bug were used in the creation of food dyes because bugs are just protein enjoyed by humans in many parts of the world, but you actually make some really great points... saying something like "plant-based" or "animal-based' would be helpful, not allowing words like "fresh" and "natural' if it's processed, including the ingredients (like ammonia) that make the ingredients listed on your ingredient list... those are fair, I do like to know what I consume!
It's interesting to think about the time in America when we went from an agricultural society to an industrialized one, and then from an industrialized one to the present. In the early years, we grew our own food-we might trade with others or might buy other local food, but we knew where the food had come from and generally knew under what circumstances it was grown. Industrialization provided things for us to use-cars, heating stoves, grain grinders, but generally not food. Most of us now receive food that is grown and processed far away from us, by strangers. We really don't know what we are eating most of the time – who grew it, how they grew it, if they cared about their product or were careless in how they processed it and how it arrived at our home. We take the word on the packaging (in many cases more money is spent on this than on the nutritional content of the food inside) that the food is good and count on our bureaucratic regulatory agencies to verify that – a somewhat impossible feat. We have created a fairly unstable, unreliable system, and seem surprised when we are not more informed about the content of our purchases.
How many bugs do you swallow in your sleep? How many are processed in with your grains, your coffee and your convenience foods. Vegetarians are so disconnected from reality they live in a neurotic delirium. They don't weep when they eat a cat hair, but god forbid there should be a molecule of fish in a beer (clarifying agent isinglass) or a bug, much like the ones they run over with their cars on a regular basis, in their coffee. The skin cells that fall off in their own mouths daily, the cells in their mouths from love making, it's interesting how these moon bats pick which animal products they mentally collapse over.
it bugs vegetarians that starbucks uses bugs in their product, and pepsi uses human fetal tissue in the production of their drink. No biggie. that's progress!
Thanks to Upton Sinclair,there have been laws,for more than a century,that regulate how many and what kinds of insects and bugs may be in your meal,along with how many rat droppings and mouse farts might be,also.Enjoy !
Any vegetable-arian not knowing stuff like this probably did not graduate high school.
Validate your 2nd Amendment Rights.Carry.
All of which makes me feel MUCH better having given up Starbucks. Their coffee's nasty and they've refused on "moral grounds" to send free product to our troops in the Middle East. Good to know that I missed out on my daily dose of bug ass in the bargain.
Ummm... you should do your research, it was a semi-fabricated story
Frim urbanlegend web site:
"Marine Sgt. Howard C. Wright, who authored the original message in May 2004, subsequently issued a mea culpa (currently being distributed by Starbucks in answer to queries about the issue) in which he said:
Almost 5 months ago I sent an email to you my faithful friends. I did a wrong thing that needs to be cleared up. I heard by word of mouth about how Starbucks said they didn't support the war and all. I was having enough of that kind of talk and didn't do my research properly like I should have. This is not true. Starbucks supports men and women in uniform. They have personally contacted me and I have been sent many copies of their company's policy on this issue. So I apologize for this quick and wrong letter that I sent out to you.
In its own official response to the email rumor, Starbucks explains that while the company has "the deepest respect and admiration for U.S. military personnel," corporate policy prohibits direct donations to U.S. troops because the military doesn't fall under the strict definition of a public charity. Individual employees are free to donate their weekly pounds of take-home coffee, however, and according to Starbucks' statement many have done so."
PS: As David St. Hubbins said, in the movie Spinal Tap; "I believe virtually everything I read, and I think that is what makes me more of a selective human than someone who doesn't believe anything."
Cochineal From Wikipedia,
The cochineal is a scale insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha, from which the crimson-colour dye carmine is derived. A primarily sessile parasite native to tropical and subtropical South America and Mexico, this insect lives on cacti from the genus Opuntia, feeding on plant moisture and nutrients.
The insect produces carminic acid that deters predation by other insects. Carminic acid, which occurs as 17-24% of the weight of the dry insects, can be extracted from the insect's body and eggs and mixed with aluminum or calcium salts to make carmine dye (also known as cochineal). Carmine is today primarily used as a food colouring and for cosmetics.
A nopal cactus farm for the production of cochineal is traditionally known as a nopalry. There are two methods of farming cochineal: traditional and controlled. Cochineals are farmed in the traditional method by planting infected cactus pads or infecting existing cacti with cochineals and harvesting the insects by hand. The controlled method uses small baskets called Zapotec nests placed on host cacti. The baskets contain clean, fertile females that leave the nests and settle on the cactus to await insemination by the males. In both cases the cochineals have to be protected from predators, cold, and rain. The complete cycle lasts 3 months, during which the cacti are kept at a constant temperature of 27 °C (81 °F). Once the cochineals have finished the cycle, the new cochineals are ready to begin the cycle again or to be dried for dye production.
Zapotec nests on Opuntia ficus-indica host cactiTo produce dye from cochineals, the insects are collected when they are approximately 90 days old. Harvesting the insects is labour-intensive, as they must be individually knocked, brushed, or picked from the cacti and placed into bags. The insects are gathered by small groups of collectors who sell them to local processors or exporters.
Nice to see someone educating instead of just opining!
Another hilarious aspect of all this: cochineal was selected as an alternative to the synthetic dyes Starbucks had been using in response to customer feedback. The previous dye, red #40, is a compound derived from oil. Which in turn is an animal product. Apparently, vegetarian no-nothingness wasn't quite able to encompass the absurdity of their position, probably due to a lack of amino acids that impaired their reasoning abilities.
I am not a vegitarian, but I understand why they are mad, they have a right to know what is in what they eat.
Then they should do their research and ask questions before they consume. Zero sympathy.
How is it that they DIDN'T know? Starbucks went out of their way to tell people what ingredients they were using; even more, they changed those ingredients when customers complained that they wanted an alternative to synthetic dyes. But Starbucks didn't hide their choice; they let everyone know.
If people don't know what cochineal is after more than 500 years of use, that's their problem, not Starbucks.
Nuthin I like better than a few bug parts mixed in with my cappuchino to start the day off right. MMMMM. Dont let this bug you.
Almost all red colored foods use a red dye made from South American beetles. We've all known this for a long time.
Not really. M&Ms don't use it, nor do consumer food colorings.
This stuff is in many, many products – sodas, ice cream, cereals, makeup, etc etc and it goes by several different names. You've been using/consuming it for a long time, likely without knowing. You'd have to leave human society altogether and go live on a mountain somewhere and grow all your own stuff if you want to really be vegan or vegetarian. Good luck with that.
The real question is how do we get this extract from the beetles? Are there beetle farms where hundreds of beetles are raised under inhumane conditions, packed into cramped cages, fighting over food? How are they killed? Are they crushed alive feeling all the pain? We need to start a movement to improve the short lives of these poor bugs; maybe start a rescue/adoption program for them. If you support me in this, please send a donation to support my new foundation Beetle Savers...
LMAO! B.S. indeed!
Well I, for one, will only buy free range beetles..
I'm sure we could find a suitable replacement in you. If we squeezed you hard enough something red is sure to come out.
Save a plant. Eat a vegetarian.
You're not just eating these bugs, you're eating every bug they've ever been with!!
1st – Eww! I'm not a vegetarian and this bugs me. 2nd – since when is a beetle an "animal"? 3rd – if you're the vegetarian that does not eat meat because you love animals, or in this case bugs, tell me you don't squish a spider if it's in your house.
Are you kidding? She makes me carry the spiders outside when she sees them! No way would she go for this!
Katie, Insects ARE animals- the animal kingdom includes insects, fish, crustaceans, all vertebrates, and invertebrates, etc and humans!
I'm a vegetarian, but I know that carnivores prey on herbivores, parasites eat slowly eat their hosts, and there are insect fragments in my Wheaties. I spray the ant hills in my back yard.
I'm a vegetarian because I cannot stand the thought of how our food animals are processed, particularly the mammals and birds. The animals live their short lives in a hell that would give Satan the dry heaves. I cannot bear the thought of their suffering. I drive by a dairy and I see cows standing motionless on a mound of their own feces. They are motionless because there is no where to go. We are monsters.
Much love to you, El.
2nd – since when is a beetle an "animal"?
Since it moves of its own will. A beetle has always been a animal, you might need to go back to grade school, it seems you missed a day.
@Katie, in general, if it isn't a single celled organism like a virus or bacteria, and if it isn't a plant, then it is an animal.
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