In what Starbucks says was a move intended to reduce its use of artificial ingredients, the coffee giant has started using cochineal extract to supply its Frappuccinos with their special strawberry color, according to ABC News.
The Daily Mail in Britain reports the company released a statement that explains they are using cochineal extract, which is derived from the ground up bodies of insects, as a way to give their popular drink that bright rosy, pink hue.
Cochineal dye has been used as a coloring agent since the 15th century, said ABC News, and is considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration. It is currently used as a way to color meat, alcoholic drinks, cookies and cheese. However, the World Health Organization, said it can cause asthma in some people, and in some others an allergic reaction.
In response to questions about whether the Strawberry Frappuccino was vegan, Starbucks wrote we “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.”