Thursday, March 29, 2012
Protest Over Insects in Starbucks Drinks
I came across the most ridiculous controversy today. According to an article from the Huffington Post, Starbucks is under fire over a "beetle extract" used in their frappuccinos.
This minor alteration involving an animal by-product has resulted in a big uproar by vegetarians and vegans. The group leading the charge is thisdishisvegetarian.com.
Starbucks previously claimed, before this ingredient alteration, that the drinks could be vegan if soy milk was used. The frappuccinos are no longer vegan free with the addition of the cochineal extract, which is a dye made out of "crushed cochineal beetles."
Starbucks initiated this change to "move away from [using] artificial dyes." In their company statement they admitted, "Many Starbucks ingredients can be combined to create a beverage free from animal-derived products; however, we are unable to guarantee this due to the potential cross-contamination with other animal-derived products in our retail locations."
No, I am not a vegan or vegetarian. I understand the petition lead by thisdishisvegetarian.com "to opt for other natural alternatives." But they are fighting for what Starbucks already initiated. The problem is that the natural "cochineal extract" isn't good enough for the vegan/vegetarian community fighting for the change.
Should Starbucks have to placate to their preferences?
I can understand if the vegan/vegetarian drinkers are completely deterred away from drinking at Starbucks due to the uncertainty of any animal-product free drink. But when has an insect been considered an animal?
If people spent more time worrying about other people and less time protecting the rights of an insect, then maybe we wouldn't have to read an article about a specific dye used in Starbucks drinks that is not harmful, completely natural, but not good enough for particular drinkers. Tell me petition signers, if you weren't told otherwise, could you taste the beetle in your coffee?