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Starbucks to Discontinue Use of Bug-Based Extract

The company announced that it will replace cochineal extract with a plant-based dye in all products.

In response to widespread outcry from vegans and omnivores alike, Starbucks has agreed to reformulate many of its popular drinks and baked goods without the use of cochineal extract—a red dye derived from crushed beetles. Starbucks US President Cliff Burrows released a statement yesterday detailing the company’s decision to transition to using lycopene, a tomato-based substance, to color items such as the Red Velvet Whoopie Pie and Strawberry-Banana Smoothie. The media firestorm erupted after food and culture blog This Dish is Veg published a story warning its readers that the Strawberries and Crème Frappuccino was no longer vegan, due to the extract’s presence. Burrows says he expects Starbucks to cochineal extract-free by the end of June.

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