Hey, Starbucks fans: How about some ground beetles in that Frappuccino?

And you thought that pink slime in your burger was a 10 on the “ick” factor.

Now hear this: The Strawberry Frappuccino you’ve been getting  at Starbucks for a sweet pick-me-up contains ground-up beetles.

No, not artificial beetles. Real crawly, creepy buggy beetles. Imported from Mexico and South America. Dead and dried up, of course.

Starbucks has been using the little critters to color its strawberry frapps, and quite intentionally. The caffeine colossus says it turned to beetles (which are natural, naturally) instead of using artificial food coloring agents.

While going green might be an admirable intent, some customers might turn green at the thought of downing this beetle juice.

Vegans have registered their protest. One suggestion has been to use vegetable juice to color the coffee instead.

Gross as it may sound, though, there’s nothing illegal, or unusual about all this, according to USA Today which says, “it’s a common, government-approved food coloring used widely throughout the food industry. It’s in everything from some Yoplait yogurts to three Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts flavors.”

“At Starbucks, we have the goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products,” company spokeswoman Lisa Passe told the newspaper.

“Starbucks should be praised for getting rid of artificial ingredients,” Michael Jacobson, executive director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, added. But because consumers could have an allergic reaction to the beetles, he said, “Strawberry Frappuccinno should be colored with strawberries.”

14 comments Add your comment

mystery poster

March 29th, 2012
2:30 pm

This is indeed very common. It’s also called “carmine” and is used in a lot of things.

Maryland Jacket

March 30th, 2012
1:50 pm

Mmm, protein!


April 1st, 2012
2:01 pm

Just when you thought it was safe to stop reading labels…..

Pink slime, pink beetles, mmmmm, no more pink food. Beets make a lovely pink. Why not sugar beet pink?

Cappy Chino

April 1st, 2012
2:14 pm

Is this why there is no Starbucks inside your local WHOLE FOODS MARKET?


April 1st, 2012
2:16 pm

Ummm. Yeah. Using strawberries to color the strawberry frappuccinos. . . what I novel idea! Why didn’t Starbucks think of it?

Rik Roberts

April 1st, 2012
2:39 pm

Who cares what the vegans think?


April 1st, 2012
3:11 pm

Rick, I care what they think, the question is who gives a rats @ss what u think… Yea exactly


April 1st, 2012
3:39 pm

5-6 dollars for a cup of coffee is more idiotic than the beetles.


April 1st, 2012
3:54 pm

@ kdog Yep! I’m with you on that one.


April 1st, 2012
3:57 pm

I’m with you, Rik. Who cares what vegans think?

um must be one of those “peaceful” vegans who doesn’t want to harm a beetle but would sneak up behind you with a baseball bat and do Lord knows what if you swatted a fly–all in the name of protecting animals.

Who cares what vegans think?


April 1st, 2012
4:31 pm

um,thats in everything that has red coloring! make up and foods!!! carmine,its in lipsticks and a TONNNN of food products!

Greg S.

April 1st, 2012
4:49 pm

And did you know that Girl Scout Cookies DO NOT contain any Girl Scouts? False advertising indeed!

Auntie Christ

April 1st, 2012
5:06 pm

RGB must be one of those guys on TV’s “Criminal Minds.” from just a 15 word comment he has already profiled um as a serial killing vegan who wields a baseball bat to commit his/her crimes (I use him/her because unlike RGB I cannot divine the gender of um). On second thought maybe RGB is “Madame Clio” from those TV commercials. Tell us oh RGB/Carnak, who will win the world series, the NCAA tournament, and the numbers for the next power ball. Inquiring minds want to know.


April 1st, 2012
6:03 pm

Way to sensationalize this. But the ground up beetles are the only natural red food dye. Before artificial red food dye, this was all they had to use. So these ground up beetles have been used for years. Nothing new if you ever researched what you are consuming you would already know.