Starbucks to De-Bug Its Menu

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So I was wrong.

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog about Starbucks not really caring about what vegetarian and vegan groups think about its use of cochineal beetles in some of their products. I’ve included a picture of what I wrote.

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Well, apparently they do.

Starbucks received a lot of PR heat for its use of cochineal beetles to color its Strawberry Frappaccinos — and in the end, Cliff Burrows, Starbucks president, conceded the argument and has announced the bugs are coming out.

In their place, a natural tomato-based extract is going in.

“We fell short of your expectations,” he said, in a statement on Thursday on the company’s consumer site. “We are reformulating the affected products to assure the highest quality possible.”

Related: Yum. Starbucks to Serve Up Bug Juice

According to Burrows, the transition from bugs to tomatoes will be complete by the end of June. Starbucks said they moved away from artificial ingredients in January in an effort to improve the quality of its menu. Using a natural tomato based extract will be a solution both parties can be happy with.

So why didn’t Starbucks use the tomato extract in the first place? I’ve yet to find the answer to that question.

In the meantime, Starbucks customers can look forward to their Strawberry Fraps being bug-free — at least by June. Other foods getting debugged at Starbucks include the Raspberry Swirl Cake, Birthday Cake Pop, Mini Donut with pink icing and Red Velvet Whoopie Pie.

If the idea of beetle juice completely freaks you out, you may want to investigate the other foods you eat. The use of cocineal bugs is a common practice and has been around since the 15th Century. It’s considered safe by the FDA and is widely used in jams, preserves, meat, marinades, cookies, cheese and more. It’s quite possible you’ve already consumed the bugs and didn’t even know it.

Bon appetite, friends!

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