Moving away from artificial dyes, Starbucks has revealed in a statement this week that it uses "cochineal extract" to give its strawberry drinks a vibrant color.
Mind you, "cochineal extract" is professional jargon for "crushed up bugs." Coming mainly from Mexico and South America, the female cochineal beetles are dried out, and then ground for the color they produce.
Unfortunately, many vegans (who don't eat any animal products) have been under the impression that drinks made with soy milk are acceptable for their diet. “We are very, very unhappy to now report that the Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino as well as the Strawberry Smoothies (both made with soy milk) are NOT vegan,” thedishvegetarian.com said. Furthermore, the beetles are not kosher and have been tied to asthma and allergic reactions.
However, the extract is approved by the FDA and has been used to brighten the color of both food and drink for centuries. Though unappealing, you have probably eaten many jams, meats, or baked goods colored with cochineal extract.