Starbucks promises to eventually stop using dye made from crushed insects

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Gross. Another reason to avoid Starbucks whenever possible.

Starbucks will cease using cochineal extract –a dye derived from crushed insects — to color select beverages and baked goods, according to a company blog post Thursday.

The company came under fire late last month when news that it was using the surprising ingredient lit up the Internet.

“As our customers you expect and deserve better — and we promise to do better,” Starbucks U.S. President Cliff Burrows wrote in the post. “After a thorough, yet fastidious, evaluation, I am pleased to report that we are reformulating the affected products to assure the highest quality possible.”

Lycopene will serve as the chain’s new red dye, and Burrows said he expects the changes to be in place nationwide by the end of June.

(click here to continue reading Starbucks to stop using dye made from crushed insects –

 (Tribune cited this blog post without providing the URL)


and all snakiness aside, you probably consume more cochineal extract than you realize: 

Today, it is used as a fabric and cosmetics dye and as a natural food colouring. In artist’s paints, it has been replaced by synthetic reds and is largely unavailable for purchase due to poor lightfastness. When used as a food additive the dye must be included on packaging labels. Sometimes carmine is labelled as E120. A small number of people have been found to have allergies to carmine, ranging from mild cases of hives to atrial fibrillation and anaphylactic shock, with 32 cases documented to date.  Carmine has been found to cause asthma in some people.  

Cochineal is one of the colours that the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group recommends be eliminated from the diet of hyperactive children. Natural carmine dye used in food and cosmetics can render the product unacceptable to vegetarian or vegan consumers. Many Muslims consider carmine-containing food forbidden (haraam) because the dye is extracted from insects, and Jews also avoid food containing this additive (even though it is not treif and some authorities allow its use because the insect is dried and reduced to powder).

Cochineal is one of the few water-soluble colourants that resist degradation with time. It is one of the most light- and heat-stable and oxidation-resistant of all the natural organic colourants and is even more stable than many synthetic food colours.  The water-soluble form is used in alcoholic drinks with calcium carmine; the insoluble form is used in a wide variety of products. Together with ammonium carmine, they can be found in meat, sausages, processed poultry products (meat products cannot be coloured in the United States unless they are labeled as such), surimi, marinades, alcoholic drinks, bakery products and toppings, cookies, desserts, icings, pie fillings, jams, preserves, gelatin desserts, juice beverages, varieties of cheddar cheese and other dairy products, sauces, and sweets.  Carmine is considered safe enough for use in eye cosmetics.  A significant proportion of the insoluble carmine pigment produced is used in the cosmetics industry for hair- and skin-care products, lipsticks, face powders, rouges, and blushes. A bright red dye and the stain carmine used in microbiology is often made from the carmine extract, too.The pharmaceutical industry uses cochineal to colour pills and ointments.

(click here to continue reading Cochineal – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

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