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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Change is coming to Starbucks.
The company has decided to 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 said 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.
CBS News reported the use of cochineal extract in Starbucks drinks came to light via the website thisdishisvegetarian.com. A barista, who works at a Starbucks location, wrote the the website saying the strawberry drinks are not vegan.
The petition cited reports that indicated “it takes 80,000 cochineal to produce 1 pound of the red dye.” Furthermore, the petition said the die is known to cause “severe allergic reactions” in some people.
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