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Bugs in Starbucks' food coloring? Protestor finds that hard to swallow

Update:  Starbucks has responded. Linda Mills, a spokeswoman from Starbucks, says: “Starbucks has a goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products. And the strawberry base that we use  does have a cochineal extract, a common dye used in the food industry. It’s in yogurt and fruit juices and a number of consumer products. It helps us move away from artificial  ingredients from our products.”

 An online petition has been launched by a South Carolinian against Starbucks’ red food coloring in its Strawberry drinks. Daelyn Fortney says 70,000 cochineal insects are crushed to make one pound of red dye.

Fortney's campaign encourages Starbucks to consider alternatives: “Red beet, black carrot, purple sweet potato and paprika are all-natural alternatives to artificial dyes and safe for those with dietary restrictions. (And those who don’t want crushed bugs in their designer drink.)”

As of this morning, her petition had 633 signatures.

I’ve left a message with Starbucks for comment and will post it once I get a response.

But Fortney’s petition includes Starbucks’ response to an article on the subject:

“At Starbucks, we strive to carry products that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles and needs. We also have the 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.”

So, what do you think? Would you stop drinking a beverage that had coloring from bugs? Or, do you drink up, figuring bugs are protein, after all?

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