Starbucks to stop using 'crushed bug' dye

Starbucks to stop using 'crushed bug' dye

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: A Starbucks coffee storefront in Chinatown 09 February, 2005 in Washington, DC. The district's small Chinatown is located along H Street Northwest boasts numerous restaurants, the US Mint Museum, the MCI Center and the annual Chinese New Year's Day Parade. AFP PHOTO/ Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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Associated Press

Posted on April 19, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Updated Sunday, Oct 27 at 9:20 PM

NEW YORK (AP) -- Starbucks Corp. says it will stop using a red dye in its drinks that is derived from crushed bugs.

The Seattle-based coffee chain said in a blog post on its website Thursday that it made the decision to reformulate its drinks after feedback from consumers prompted a "thorough" evaluation.

The company says it will swap out cochineal extract, which is made from the juice of a tiny beetle, and instead use lycopene, a tomato-based extract.

Cochineal dye is widely used in foods and cosmetics products such as lipstick, yogurt and shampoo. Starbucks had used the coloring in its strawberry flavored mixed drinks and foods like the raspberry swirl cake and red velvet whoopie pie.

The company says the items will be reformulated by the end of June.

An online petition on Change.org asking the chain to stop using the bug-based dye had collected more than 6,000 signatures. The petition was started by a South Carolina woman who wanted to inform consumers that the chain's strawberry drinks weren't vegan-friendly.

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