Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Starbucks Drinks May Dangerous to Asthma Sufferers?

Brief: Do there are bugs in coffee? According to U.S. media reports, the Starbucks coffee chain announced that they will switch to cochineal extract as the color pigment to their Strawberry Frappuccinos drink thus to reduce the use of artificial colors. However, the experts pointed out that this insect coloring agent may be sensitive to allergic asthma patients.

Have you ever wondered how Starbucks makes their Strawberry Frappuccinos look so vibrantly pink? The pink hue is thanks to crushed up insects, according to new information provided by the coffee chain giant.

In a statement released by Starbucks, the company has revealed that they use cochineal extract, which is the ground-up bodies of insects, as a dye for the popular rose-coloured beverage. Bugs from mainly Mexico and South America are dried out before they are ground and used in the milky-based Frappuccino drink.

As stomach-turning as it may sound, the ingredient is in fact harmless. Commonly used to help liven up the dull hues of jams, meats, cheese, baked goods, alcoholic drinks and more, cochineal extract has been used as a colouring agent in food and drinks for centuries. It has been deemed safe by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration.

Starbucks said it had decided to use cochineal extract to help limit the use of artificial ingredients in its products. 'At Starbucks, we strive to carry products that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles and needs,' the statement read. 'While the strawberry base isn't a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes.’

But the all-natural matter is not entirely free of health risks. The World Health Organisation has found that cochineal extract may cause asthma in some people. Others may see an allergic reaction.

Vegan fans may not be happy with its inclusion either. ThisDishIsVegetarian.com, an animal rights and eco-friendly news site, labels the extract non-vegan.

Originally Posted: About Additive