After Starbucks Stands Up for LGBT Rights, Vegans Go Bughouse Looney Over Frappuccino Color

First the National Organization for Marriage  gets all sandy-panties, and now  the vegans are going nuts over a natural food coloring, passing the scarlet panic onwards to omnivores. Starbucks just can’t stay out of hot water.

After supporting LGBT rights and marriage equality, the super-venti global coffee corp was put on notice by those shrill, conservative, divisive  equality haters, National Organization for Marriage, who issued a fatwa  and called for a boycott of the multinational chain. Oooh, we’re all shaking like a Frappuccino® over that huge scare. Not. Hardly made a dent in Starby’s business, and may have increased it actually, since people who don’t normally buy coffee there (like me) did so to show their support of  their local boite des Buxes.

Now vegans and the slightly more food-flexible vegetarians are upset because Starbucks uses a natural red dye in their strawberry Frappuccinos®: Dye made from crushed cochineal bugs, as the company states they have a

goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products. While the strawberry base isn’t a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes.

Starbucks uses the natural dye–FDA approved, made from the innards of a New World insect which has been sourced as a colorant since before the time of the Conquistadors and whose origins were once one the world’s most closely guarded secrets–in their red velvet whoopie pies birthday cake pops and mini donuts with pink icing.

This is why we can’t have nice things. So let’s make it easy–how about no artificial color at all. No pink drinks. No pink icing. No luridly insect blood-stained red velvet whoopie pies. There’s no real need for a strawberry Frappuccino® to be a colored with a dye because it’s made with real red strawberries, right? Oh…never mind.

Of course, objections to the use of the natural cochineal coloring, as opposed to some nasty man-made chemical dye, in Starbuck’s food–and in other products–could negatively impact the 40,00 people in Peru who labor in cactus fields, scraping cochineal bugs off prickly pear cactus paddles, then mushing the insects into paste and selling them to support their families as they have since before the arrival of the colonial Spaniards.

On April 4, Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz will be on Fox Business with Liz Claman at 3 pm Eastern to discuss NOM’s epic fail boycott, their company’s expansion into China, and U.S. job creation (Starbuck’s has teamed up with the Opportunity Finance Network® (OFN) for the Create Jobs for USA program designed to create and sustain jobs, and seeding $5 million to provide financing to underserved community businesses which include small business loans, community center financing, housing project financing and microfinance).

And yes, Schultz will probably have to address the bug guts issue.

30 Responses to "After Starbucks Stands Up for LGBT Rights, Vegans Go Bughouse Looney Over Frappuccino Color"
Anthony Noel | Tuesday April 3, 2012 08:24 am 1

Oh, fer Christ’s sake.

This is why I could never run Starbucks. I rename the damn thing “Beetlejuice,” subtitled, “Vegans Beware!”

GeorgeJohnston | Tuesday April 3, 2012 08:26 am 2

Starbucks just can’t stay out of hot water.

Which is why their open carry policy makes sense.

Starbuck | Tuesday April 3, 2012 08:32 am 3

Nobody is saying they have to consume it. What other non-vegan items does Starbucks sell? Non vegan after one carefully vets all the ingredients?

EvilDrPuma | Tuesday April 3, 2012 08:34 am 4

Just don’t say it three times.

UndisciplinedPhD | Tuesday April 3, 2012 08:44 am 5

Oh, good grief! Somebody should explain to them that they’ve probably eaten plenty of bugs, or at least bug eggs, in their grains. And rat hairs in their peanut butter… If you’re having lunch, don’t read this.

Marion in Savannah | Tuesday April 3, 2012 08:47 am 6

Oh, gawd… It’s enough to make me actually go and waste my money at Starbucks, even though I think their coffee stinks. Maybe I’ll get me one of those shakes…

TheCallUp | Tuesday April 3, 2012 09:07 am 7

The idea of eating bug blood/guts merely for the luxury of making a strawberry frap look like it is actually strawberry, leaves me w/ a cloud image of a fear factor episode above my head.

Not gonna drink it. Then again, I tend to frequent local coffee shops (rather than chains like Starbucks) that use REAL fair trade beans.

Thanks for the heads up.

medicinecat | Tuesday April 3, 2012 09:23 am 8

This kind of article is why I spend less and less time on FDL. I am a supporter of LBGT rights, but here I guess the idea is that I should shut up and ignore food safety and food purity issues all for the sake of showing my approval of Starbuck’s most recent position on some other progressive issue.

As long as Starbuck’s continues to play nice, I don’t suppose we’ll be reading about the Industrial Workers of the World’s efforts to organize Starbucks. If anyone is interested in the real economic struggle of ordinary people, LGBT and straight, to make a living wage with benefits, go to the IWW’s site.

medicinecat | Tuesday April 3, 2012 09:25 am 9

dogjudge | Tuesday April 3, 2012 09:31 am 10

I’ve worked in the food ingredient industry for 30 years. Someone needs to tell the vegans that conchineal has been used as a coloring for decades. One of the primary uses is lipstick.

Lisa Derrick | Tuesday April 3, 2012 09:32 am 11
In response to medicinecat @ 8

We have covered Starbucks and their anti-union stance in the past.

As I mentioned, not using food coloring is kinda the best option, though ceasing the use of cochineal as a food additive will drastically impact a specific group of people who rely on harvesting the bugs for their income.

Perhaps my gentle sarcasm did not translate well, as I was pointing out the difficulties one has adhering to social, political and moral positions in a shifting world economy. I suppose one could live like the “perfects” of Cathars or Albigensians. though that didn’t turn out so well for them…

hotdog | Tuesday April 3, 2012 09:39 am 12

Chemicals in a cup for only 5 bucks, what a country.

They say lead pipes did the Romans in and that just makes people stupid. There’s no telling what the shit we’re consuming is doing.

newcarguy | Tuesday April 3, 2012 09:55 am 13
In response to dogjudge @ 10

Guess I’m OK. I don’t drink Starbucks and don’t use lipstick.

newcarguy | Tuesday April 3, 2012 09:56 am 14

Hmmmmm, I always though that what did the Romans in was their debauchery and rampant promiscuity.

I was kinda looking forward to that.

nocompromises4me | Tuesday April 3, 2012 10:07 am 15

Any product that contains grain may contain insect parts. In my younger days, I worked on farms during harvest, and in grain elevators. Grasshoppers and the like are harvested in droves. They aren’t all separated out, and at some point in handling, parts and pieces still remain in the grain when it is turned into flour. Sorry to tell the vegans this, but the only way to avoid a certain, though perhaps minute, contamination by animal products is to raise your own, or buy from local “artisans”.

If we actually strove to avoid everything we might find offensive, we would live a very limited life indeed.

hotdog | Tuesday April 3, 2012 10:13 am 16
In response to newcarguy @ 14

Increase rates of infertility might not hurt in that regard. On the other hand, decreased libido and mutations might have a deleterous effect, unless of course, you’re into extra limbs (or other parts).

hotdog | Tuesday April 3, 2012 10:16 am 17
In response to nocompromises4me @ 15

I think you’re on the wrong end of the spectrum. If we actually paid attention to what we put in our bodies, we’d probably be a lot better off.

tremoluxman | Tuesday April 3, 2012 11:02 am 18

Get a grip, friggin’ food Nazis. It’s a natural color made from bug carcasses, not meat, fish, or eggs. Geez.

medicinecat | Tuesday April 3, 2012 11:22 am 19
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 11

Right. And while we’re at it, I’ll get off Obama’s back for the wars, torture, and erosion of civil liberties because that’s what all my liberal friends tell me. ‘Cuz when our side does it we should just shut up.

Starbuck | Tuesday April 3, 2012 11:57 am 20
In response to tremoluxman @ 18

There are but three classes of objects: Animal, Vegetable and Mineral.

I wonder what class we would find bug carcasses?

medicinecat | Tuesday April 3, 2012 11:58 am 21
In response to Starbuck @ 20

Thank you.

TheCallUp | Tuesday April 3, 2012 12:05 pm 22

One point that seems to be missed, is that this used to be vegan. Their strawberry sauce got new packaging just 4-5 weeks ago, which is when Starbucks employeed believe they started adding bug guts to the mix, thereby making this vegan product non-vegan.

Here is a picture of these bugs and some info about the controversy for those interested. YUM!

One note from article:

The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA in 1998 to get the product [cochineal extract] labeled on packaging after a study found the dye caused an allergic reaction in one patient. The CSPI has received many complaints since, it said in a 2009 article.

World Health Organization says consuming cochineal extract has been tied to asthma for some.

AitchD | Tuesday April 3, 2012 12:12 pm 23
In response to Starbuck @ 20

John Charles Daly: “We will have to flip the remaining Stopette cards and tell you that Miss Carver is an ice sculptor of igloo-shaped bread boxes.”

Lisa Derrick | Tuesday April 3, 2012 12:40 pm 24
In response to TheCallUp @ 22

Starbucks wanted to provide a more natural product, removed the dye and added bug guts. Beet juice might have been a better option, but I am still at a loss as to why color needed to be added.

hotdog | Tuesday April 3, 2012 12:43 pm 25

Wouldn’t a “food nazi” be more accurately someone who wants to force you to eat something you don’t want or keep you from knowing about something important to you, as opposed to someone who wants to shine a light on deceptive, profit-based, unhealthy, or just down-right gross, practices?

hotdog | Tuesday April 3, 2012 12:49 pm 26
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 24

If your flavoring comes out of polyurethane tubing rather than bits of the actual fruit, coloring would help support the illusion you are eating something that has anything to do with a strawberry.

tremoluxman | Tuesday April 3, 2012 02:09 pm 27
In response to Starbuck @ 20

I know the basic classifications in biology. But thanks for the refresher. If you are such a stickler of ingesting only plant-based foodstuffs, perhaps you’d be more contented staying in your own kitchen and making sure your daily intake is 100% vegan. Spare those of us who don’t share your dietary habits from being subjected to your zealotry. Free free to dine anywhere you can find sufficiently pure vegan fare. Have a nice day.

masaccio | Tuesday April 3, 2012 02:53 pm 28

Vegan, schmegan. I like polish sausage, and I plan to keep eating it.

Lisa Derrick | Tuesday April 3, 2012 04:23 pm 29
In response to tremoluxman @ 18

Let’s try not to go Godwin’s. Thanks.

Mommybrain | Saturday April 7, 2012 11:28 am 30

I use cochineal to color soap, especially rose scented bars. I also use nutmeg, cinnamon and coffee. Cappuchinno, anyone?

Sorry but the comments are closed on this post