Food Babe Investigates: Sabotaged at Starbucks

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Vani Hari (a.k.a. The Food Babe) is a regular contributor on 100 Days of Real Food. To learn more about Vani check her out on “Our Team” page.

Trying to get through the maze of what is offered at Starbucks can be pretty daunting – hopefully this information will clear up any nagging thoughts about what’s REALLY in their food and drinks. I couldn’t help but shake my head at the things I uncovered, which had me asking – how many times have people unknowingly gotten sabotaged at Starbucks?

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Starbucks was using crushed up bugs to color their Strawberry Frappuccinos. Luckily, they responded to the public outcry and eliminated that beetle juice. You’d think they would have taken the time to clean up the rest of their menu, but no such luck. Did you know that Starbucks uses ingredients that are scarier than bugs and could even be harmful to your health? That’s where the real sabotage begins…

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Top 5 Ways To Get Sabotaged At Starbucks:

1. Coffee

You might think it is a bit radical to suggest not drinking their most prized ingredient that makes over 85,000 different combination of drinks, but it’s also radical drinking and paying a premium for coffee that’s ridden with potential toxins. Let’s get real here, they do not actually serve organic coffee at most Starbucks locations, which means (like all brands of conventional coffee) it’s been sprayed with pesticides. We all know Starbucks coffee ain’t cheap, but most people don’t know that regular consumption of conventional coffee can be a serious source of pesticide exposure.

Starbucks coffee is grown all over the world in developing nations. The United States doesn’t regulate the type and amount of pesticides foreign countries use in their production of coffee beans, which makes consuming non-organic coffee on a regular basis pretty risky. You could be drinking toxins from pesticides that are in fact banned here in the United States but not else where, like the pesticide Chlorpyrifos that is a contact poison. It has caused human deaths, and has been linked to birth defects. It is extremely toxic to birds, freshwater and marine organisms, bees, and other wildlife.

Furthermore, we know that increased exposure to pesticides are linked to birth defects, nerve damage and cancer. The President’s Cancer Panel has urged us not to consume food sprayed with pesticides and doesn’t believe any amount is safe.

And in regards to their decaf… did you know that conventional decaffeinated coffees are made decaf by soaking the beans with a chemical called ethyl acetate used in nail polish and glues and a carcinogen called methylene chloride?

2. Soy Latte (or anything else with Starbucks organic soy milk)

Logically, it makes sense to choose organic soy milk, since Starbucks decided to eliminate organic cow’s milk as an option a few years ago. But not so fast. Starbucks organic soy milk has one ingredient they would rather you not know about. This ingredient was recently highlighted in a report generated by the Cornucopia Institute and echoed in a recent NYTimes article about non-organic ingredients allowed in organic food. One of those questionable ingredients is carrageenan, which is derived from seaweed and is in Starbucks branded organic soy milk. This substance is reported to cause intestinal inflammation and can be become a carcinogen once it is digested.

How such an ingredient became allowed in organic food is bigger than just Starbucks. However, companies ultimately make the decision to use or not to use these harmful ingredients.

Carrageenan can also be found in other Starbucks food and drink products including their cakes, scones, yogurt and Light Frappuccinos.

3. Baked Goods & Other Food Offerings

Sure, Starbucks made a commitment a couple of years ago to eliminate transfat, artificial colors, and high fructose corn syrup from their food products. They said they listened to us and responded. However, I think Starbucks may need a hearing aid. Just because a company gets rid of certain ingredients doesn’t automatically make the food completely natural or “real”.  For instance, the Reduced Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake has over 75 ingredients!

Ingredients in Starbucks food products still include:

  • Refined FloursWhite flour that has been stripped of its nutrients and provides nothing but empty calories that contribute to chronic disease & obesity.
  • Chemically Derived Sugars – Some products like the lemon pound cake contain 6 different types of processed sugars (e.g. powdered sugar, glycose syrup, corn syrup, maltodextrin, dextrose, etc.).
  • Preservatives – The Mayo Clinic reported that the preservative sodium benzoate (an ingredient found in the Iced Lemon Pound Cake) may increase hyperactivity in children. Also, when sodium benzoate combines with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) benzene can form a carcinogen and kill DNA cells, accelerating aging.
  • Growth Hormone - Starbucks has eliminated growth hormone milk in their core dairy products, but not in their food products. That means you could be still be ingesting a substance that has been reported to cause breast, colon and prostate cancers.
  • Cellulose Gum – This a filler made from wood pulp your body can’t even digest.
  • Proplyene Glycol – This is an ingredient in the Apple Fritter and Reduced Fat Cinnamon Swirl Cake, which is derived from petroleum and a key chemical that is used to make anti-freeze.
  • Azodicarbonamide – This substance, found in Starbucks croissants, is banned in the U.K., Europe and Australia, and if used in Singapore can result in fines up to $450,000 and a 15 year prison sentence! This ingredient has been reported to cause asthmatic symptoms in people who inhale it and can also increase certain food sensitivities.
  • Genetically Modified Ingredients (GMOs) - Several of the listed ingredients are likely genetically modified. We’ll never know for sure how much of Starbucks products are genetically modified since they are currently not required to be labeled in this country. But we do know that the consumption of GMO foods poses a serious threat to our health and have been linked to toxicity, allergic reactions and fertility issues.
  • Cheap Oils -  Soy, canola or corn oil can be found in almost all of Starbucks’ products. Over-consumption of these cheap oils are causing an abundance of Omega 6 fatty acids in our diets. The imbalance of Omega 6 fatty acids increases the risk of inflammation, heart disease, obesity, and prostate and bone cancer.

4. “Refreshers” Beverage

This brand new drink that just came out last week gives the allure of fresh and real, but it’s anything but. The ingredients are the same for both flavors of the refresher drinks. What?  How can one taste like “Cool Lime” and the other one taste like “Berry Hibiscus” when they have both have the same base ingredients? Huh?  Looking at the two different boxes these “handcrafted” drinks came out of, the ingredients read:

Starbucks Refreshers Beverage: Water, Sugar, White Grape Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavors, Natural Green Coffee Flavor, Citric Acid, Erythritol, Antioxidant (Ascorbic Acid E300), Rebaudioside A (Stevia)

Starbucks calls white grape juice concentrate (which involves heating the juice to high temperatures and adding some chemicals to get a more condensed product) “real fruit juice.”  The only difference between the two drinks was the addition of freeze dried lime to one drink and freeze dried blackberries to the other. I guess that explains how they “handcraft” it.  McDonalds must also handcraft their burgers when they put the bun on them, huh?

It is interesting that Green Coffee Extract was not actually in the drink like they advertise. It is included in the refresher products they sell packaged in the store, but not in the version baristas make behind the counter. Is this their way of tricking us into buying a cheaper derivative of Green Coffee – just the flavor and not the extract?

When I realized that both drinks contained added sugar as the second ingredient and “natural flavor,” I immediately knew this drink was pure JUNK. Manufactured natural flavor is contributing to what David Kessler (former head of the FDA) calls a “food carnival” in your mouth.  This makes it difficult to stop eating or drinking because the flavors they have synthesized trick your mind into wanting more and more. Starbucks doesn’t give us the full essence of a hibiscus or cucumber mint – just the best 1 millionth part of the taste – so we only want more of that product, which in turns fills Starbucks’ pockets. When companies use manufactured flavor, they literally are “hijacking” your taste buds one-by-one.

Please note, natural flavor is found in almost all of Starbucks products, not just this new drink. Their smoothies are also made with a product that comes from a box and contains juice concentrate with natural flavors and natural color as opposed to 100% real fruit. I should also note that their mocha chocolate sauce, used to flavor many drinks and their chocolate smoothie, still contain high fructose corn syrup, too. They haven’t eliminated high fructose corn syrup in their drinks, only their food. This is yet another marketing trick Starbucks has played on us.

5. Frappuccinos

Did you know the CEO of Starbucks doesn’t even drink Frappuccinos? And I think I’ve figured out why. Frappuccinos are full of refined sugar, natural and artificial flavors, and a substance called caramel coloring. California recently included caramel coloring on its annual list of carcinogens that require warning labels.

This type of caramel isn’t the stuff you make at home by cooking sugar. This caramel color is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure, which creates carcinogenic compounds. Caramel color is classified into four different classes; Class IV being the worst and the one that is listed on the Starbucks Frappuccino label. Whether you choose the regular or light version of a Frappuccino, you are getting a dose of this known carcinogen proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumorsin rats and mice.

When The Center for Science in the Public Interest studied two different brands of soda earlier this year, they found that both had dangerous levels of caramel coloring and could be contributing to thousands of cancers in the US. This prompted Coke and Pepsi to quickly change their formulas so they didn’t have to include the cancer warning label on their products in California. I wonder what level of carcinogenic compounds a Frappuccino has, don’t you? Maybe someone should test it. I think it should be removed altogether from the FDA’s approved list of additives considering this substance is only added for cosmetic reasons and serves no real purpose!

Frappuccinos aren’t the only products at Starbucks that contain caramel coloring, the “Perfect” Oatmeal even has it! This is alarming to say the least, considering the oatmeal is one of the most popular and “safer” sounding menu items at Starbucks. To quote Starbucks, “The most important meal of the day is the first. So why not make it nutritious and delicious?” I’m not sure if consuming carcinogens first thing in the morning is really nutritious, are you?

Despite all these ways in which Starbucks can sabotage me, I still like to use their free internet. Many of the stores now carry bananas, organic dried fruit, and some quality granola bars without synthetic ingredients that I would buy if I needed a snack. I always read the label no matter what I am buying just to be sure.

My favorite treat to get at Starbucks is absolutely free. They will give a cup of hot water to anyone that asks. Since I always carry a few extra bags of organic tea with me, I know I can always have a healthy beverage on the go from Starbucks for free anytime I like. I also like to use this free hot water option to make my own quick cooking oatmeal without carcinogenic caramel coloring!

But if you aren’t a tea drinker and are still clamoring for a Frappuccino, but don’t want to consume harmful ingredients…I’ve got a couple of recipes for you! Try my Homemade Organic Frappuccino with no refined sugars, artificial colors, flavors or carcinogens today or try Lisa’s Maple Mocha. Both of these recipes are so easy to make, you’ll never have to worry about getting sabotaged at Starbucks again.

Vani HariVani Hari a.k.a. Food Babe is an organic living expert, food activist and writer on FoodBabe.com. She teaches people how to make the right purchasing decisions at the grocery store, how to live an organic lifestyle, and how to travel healthfully around the world. The success in her writing and investigative work can be seen in the way food companies react to her uncanny ability to find and expose the truth. To follow Vani, check her out on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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272 comments to Food Babe Investigates: Sabotaged at Starbucks

  • I chuckled when everyone put up such a fuss about the cochineal that Starbucks was using as a food colouring. It was probably the most innocuous thing at Starbucks, according to your list. I would rather ingest ground-up bugs than chemicals any day.

  • JOANA

    I just have one thing to say… everything may be true… but in London the soya milk they use is def soya milk, they serve it in front of you and it’s alpro soya … don’t know if there’s anything wrong with that brand on the other hand

  • Rachel

    Thank you so much for this report. I have committed to feeding myself and family healthier food since the beginning of the year. I have learned so much from this blog and I am truly grateful for it. I knew from the beginning that I wouldn’t be able to change every aspect of our diet right away so we have followed a new real food rule every 2-3 weeks. For the most part our diet is real, with a few exceptions. I occasionally step out of the real food plan to treat myself with something like Starbucks. Some of the comments on here have not only “bashed” Food Babe, but also consumers who should know better than to consume Starbucks in the first place. I’d just like to offer a different perspective. Having been overweight most of my life, I have viewed food from the position of whether or not it was part of a diet or would cause me to gain weight. This was my only standard of whether or not something was healthy. Having discovered this blog, I now know that there is so much more to consider…and for the record I am not stupid, I am college educated, and have always looked at food labels. The information provided by Lisa and Food Babe has taught me that its not always about fat and calories. I know that Starbucks is fattening but I believed that indulging occasionally was ok. Now that I know there are many other harmful substances to be concerned about I will choose to avoid it. You never know who will come across the information that is provided here, what they already know or don’t know, or how they will choose to apply it. I, for one am thankful that Food Babe continues to research and report despite those of you who judge her work. For some of us, it is life changing!

  • AMc

    I am a big proponent of whole, organic, non-GMO foods, and healthy eating in general. I make what I can at home from fresh ingredients and definitely don’t go to fast food restaurants. I admire your efforts and your desire to educate readers about healthy eating. I am curious to know why you focused on Starbucks. Are their practices much different than those of Coffee Bean, Pete’s, Seattle’s Best and other similar chains? How is a cup of Starbucks coffee with soy milk and a muffin different from a cup of coffee one would brew at home using a generic brand (not organic) coffee, and a muffin purchased at a major grocery store? I like what you do, but don’t get the focus on a specific company, when so much of our food is laced with pesticides, GMOs and over-processed ingredients.

    • CK

      Starbucks is probably the largest coffee shop chain, right? And their advertising leads you to believe that they are seeking organic, natural products, fair trade and sustainable practices…I was disappointed to learn two years ago that they don’t sell organic coffee in their stores! I mean come on, Howard Schultz is presenting SB as this “all natural”, “green/forward thinking” type of company…so many people are customers of SB it makes sense to call attention to some of the food and drinks they sell that have been marketed as “healthy” or at least “all natural”. Slick marketing has fooled many people apparently.

      • AMc

        I get that. I would hope that educated consumers look beyond marketing, and think about what they buy from a giant corporation like Starbucks. I used to go there all the time, and still stop for a latte occasionally, and even buy their pastries once in a while. But I am fully aware that a butter croissant, even if they use organic butter, will add nothing nutritionally positive to my diet. It’s a treat. All their pastries scream white flour and refined sugar, I can tell just looking at them in the store. I don’t need a detailed analysis to recognize “bad” foods. People who care, I would imagine, are like me.
        I am glad you are educating the naive consumer. I just think running to Coffee Bean instead (which some people might do) won’t solve a thing. I think the lesson is do your own research and make educated decisions. But I am not sure that’s really coming across from the blog post.
        I am enjoying the rest of the web site!

  • AC

    I think a lot of the information used in this post, while factual is misleading. You use a lot of scary words to describe foods that many of us eat every day. Comparing starbucks refreshers to McDonalds is just silly. I think it’s great to eat as naturally as possible but I don’t think a croissant and latte is going to cause any more damage to your insides as this article causes damage to my brain cell count.

    • marisa

      Nutritionally a Starbucks refreshers is a lot like a McDonald’s berry tea or anything else. Neither is organic, both contain high fructose corn syrup, fruit purees, and “natural flavoring” (this can be anything from 1 ingredient to 100 and usually is bad for you, possibly even carcinogenic). Also they are both artificially colored.

  • Shannon 2

    Just to provide another perspective on Point #1: the USDA and FDA regularly test domestic and imported agricultural products for pesticides. The most recent FDA report that I found online was from 2008; 11 coffee samples were tested and none had any detectible pesticide residue. (For comparison, about 70% of carrot and raisin samples did have detectible pesticide residue). Back in the ’80s and ’90s, there were several instances of banned pesticides showing up in coffee imports, but I didn’t find any evidence of recent occurrences.

    At home I drink Larry’s Beans organic/fair-trade coffee, mainly because I admire their concern for farmworkers. However, I don’t see any particular reason to be afraid of pesticides in other coffee and wouldn’t hesitate to drink Starbucks or any other conventional coffee if I happened to be away from home and wanted a cup of coffee.

    There’s a point where a healthy enthusiasm for eating good, whole foods can cross into irrational fear of everything that’s impure. Step back from that ledge!

  • RDMomma

    Great article! Do you know if Starbucks in Canada uses the same ingredients?

  • Now that I am petrified to drink any coffee, do you recommend organic coffees? Are all regular coffees bad for you?

  • Colleen B

    Do you know anything about their coconut CREME frapaccino? That is my summer, having a bad day drink. It is only here for a few months, and I only get 3-4 per month. But they are so good. I am just wondering how bad it really is for me. It isn’t caramel colored and has no coffee. I don’t THINK it has soy milk. But it is sweet. Thanks!!

  • Phaedra

    Thanks for your thoughts….I will research on my own, bit you have given us good food for thought.

    http://www.coffeereview.com/reference.cfm?ID=121

  • Tessa

    You’re right in that Starbucks isn’t a completely green company, but I think you’ll be hard pressed to find any 100% green food chain that is on the international level or a Fortune 500 company. So instead of exclusively focusing on what isn’t there, I’m perplexed why you couldn’t write a more balance feature. Starbucks does sell some organic products in their stores, they have eliminated hormones out of their milk, and they have attempted to give employees above average benefits among many many other positive and innovated things. What other companies at this level are even doing that? If we want to see change in the market, we have to support business that are moving in the right direction, instead of blasting them for not being completely perfect. I have no problem stopping into my local Starbucks and picking up a splurge for myself. I’ve never been given the impression through their marketing that they are making the claim that everything they sell is completely healthy and certainly they have never made the claim that everything is “green” or “earthy friendly” to the highest of high standard. If we are holding out for standard then eating out anywhere would never be an option. Personally I think Starbucks has done a good job at making slow changes in the market while still staying true to their overall mission statement and business objectives. Not to mention the generosity to give anyone a free cup and hot water…. if anything I was the most taken aback that you would accept those “freebies” while simultaneously reporting that they are “sabotaging” their customers. Seems slightly hypocritical to me. There are far more positive ways to initiate change, which includes consumers working with business instead of against them, then the completely defensive and attacking mentality of this article.

    • marisa

      I think the problem in supporting companies that “are trying” is that it stops them from trying any harder. if you can sell coffee grown with chemicals and milk with carcinogens, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial dyes, and make millions of dollars, why spend more money to offer better products, especially if most customers will not bother to look at what is in the ingredients. the fact that they sell NO organic coffee is a reason in and of it self for me to avoid starbucks (it hurts the communities that grow these beans and the farmers, poison the local water supply, and pay the farmers starvation wages), so even if the chemical residue doesn’t end up in the coffee it does hurt people. Here in Virginia beach are some local, organic, coffee/juice shops that dont use any harmful ingredients and while they may not be fortune 500 companies, who says we can only shop at multinational stores? Consumers do NOT have to settle for products from a company that is “trying” when there are organic fair trade responsible companies in the same field. The marketing of Starbucks is extensive, which is within their rights, they need to make money, but they choose only to highlight the organic, “all natural” products and they do attempt to put a health spin on most of their products. They even show people doing yoga and meditating, with their high fructose corn syrup filled frozen cappuccinos.
      I think the best way to see a change in the market is to shop at the BEST store possible and to still insist they get better. i dont see a need to spend money on products that are “almost there”. When it comes to what we eat and what we drink many people have this attitude that we, the consumers, are the helpless victims of industry and must eat what they put out there, so take what we can get and it will get better.
      As an addition to this rant, id like to add that i am not rabidly anti-starbucks but I am VERY selective when i shop there. i will not buy coffee or any other drink from their brand, as none of it is organic, i wont buy any of their bakery products or starbucks brand deli food, basically i dont buy anything that is starbucks brand. I still shop there because they carry a few local brands, and offer dried fruit and nut mixes that are organic, and from small family owned companies that i really want to support. i still contribute money to the company, but i vote with my dollars and only buy their acceptable (to me), ecologically minded, organic products, in the hope that they will stock more of these products, and replace their remaining products with similar items.

  • Lauren

    I thank you for your insight and for doing the research. It has been helpful to read your reports and the other articles you post on here. I appreciate your enthusiasm to inform and your dedication to being health minded. Also, it may be helpful in warding off the unnecessary negative posts if you also list some of the references and where you are getting this information. I know I would be interested to read up on your resources in addition to your conclusions.

    As for the uptight, goody two-shoes on here – whatever about the use of wi-fi and hot water! I mean, seriously, it’s free! And they can’t tell me that if they had to pee and a McDonald’s was the only place around they wouldn’t stop in to use the restroom because it is also free to use despite their negative beliefs towards McDonald’s! Please people, get off the high horse!

    • Sunny

      Actually, Lauren, I DO purchase something from McDonalds or any other fast food place or gas station, if I need to use their restroom. Businesses provide these things for their paying customers, and using them without paying feels terribly unethical to me. I found that bit of the post just as appalling as many other commenters did.

  • I am so not afraid of crushed bugs! I’d be much more worried about where (or what) the strawberry flavor is coming from. The food has ridiculous amounts of calories, as do the loaded drinks. We prefer small local places when on the road, no flavored crap, house-made goodies (we ask which are housemade, they are always happy to answer!). But usually we roast/brew/drink our coffee at home–it’s affordable that way!

  • ReneeO

    I am surprised that everyone is so “shocked”! I make my coffee at home because I use the good stuff and really like the way I make it. It’s not just Starbucks people, you’re gonna be hard pressed to find all organic perfect foods when you are out. In order to make pastries that people will eat, there’s gonna be some crap in there. And I agree with the “uptight, goody two-shoes” person, the free wi-fi and hot water are for “customers” It’s a business for pete’s sake and those things are offered to make their customers happy. Not for free-loaders. I call those people “takers” not “givers”. Everyone seems to think they are entitled. Using the bathroom is not the same thing. Bottom line, if you want to eat clean foods, just do your research. I can’t believe anyone would think those sugary doctored up coffee drinks can possibly be made good for you.

    • Vassiliki

      well said ReneeO. I know coffee isn’t good for me or the pastries but I still stop by and have one once in a while. I don;t understand all the negativity about Starbucks. If you go to a grocery store and buy packaged food or from the bakery the ingredients are horrible- don’t get the post. If you have an organic lifestyle that’s fine- I do- but why blast Starbucks? Just don;t go there. I can think of worse places to eat and drink. I know it’s not great for me but it is my choice. And freeloading for internet is not a very good practice even if you buy an organic snack once in a while. Have some scruples. About soy milk- I avoid it all costs whether it is organic or not. Most is GMO and soy naturally has isoflavins, which can affect your thyroid as well as phyto estrogens, so who cares if it has caraneegens (sp?) when there is a lot worse stuff in there for you.

  • Jake

    I appreciate the information provided.

    However, using the word “sabatoge” is a bit of a stretch and uncalled for as a title. Sabotage means directly forcing upon harm on to another thing. I don’t see Starbucks doing that.

    • marisa

      actually sabotage isn’t stretch, it is sarcastic and a play on words, but at basis of food babes argument it is an appropriate description. sabotage means knowingly ( i assume starbucks knows what is in their products) doing something that is detrimental to someone else (these products ARE harmful, maybe not all, and maybe not all the time, but they certainly arent good for you). it also includes doing this in a fashion that is sneaky or somehow deceptive as not to reveal your true intentions. starbucks advertises the taste their products and the few healthy things in them, not the fructose, corn syrup, food coloring etc. so it is somewhat deceptive. also starbucks hides some of the least savory ingredients by using names such as “natural flavors”. this can be anything and deliberately hides ingredients from the consumer, so we cant make educated choices.

  • [...] Fascinating blogpost about Starbucks popped up last week. People have been commenting on Starbucks Facebook page asking for more information. Usually within minutes these posts are deleted. Looks like someone is on to something… [...]

  • Sarah

    Carrageenan is made from seaweed so how is that not “real”? You can even make is yourself by boiling seaweed in water, then straining through cheesecloth, just like making apple pectin. Now I’m confused as to what should be considered real and what is not. Are we talking a strictly raw food diet?

    • When it is processed from seaweed, it can become denatured and contaminated. Please review the comprehensive report from the Cornucopia Institute I linked to in the article to learn more.

  • anonymous

    You are leading these peoplt to beleive that these things Starbucks makes available are harmful. When in fact one of it is. Most of Starbucks items have proprietary recipes because people like you would take advantage of it and make it at home for free. All items Starbucks makes available are in fact safe to eat, granted in moderation and approved by the government, who I suspect you distrust anyway. If you don;t like something, don;t eat it, and Starbucks may be a bad company but face it, they are not spreading lies like you are. The cochineal extract (bug juice as you boorishly put it) is in the lipstick you wear, your nail polish, your red velvet cake, your blush makeup, and your childrens’ candy, and has been used since before the 14th century as a dye made by hand by the earliest people. There have been less than 16 deaths involved from allergic shock with that coloring extract. Get the facts. You are leading these people to beleive false information.

  • marisa

    A product must be proven unsafe before it is removed from products, but it must never be proven safe before it is introduction. since the caramel coloring used in starbucks products is banned in Europe and California because it was found to be carcinogenic that proves the government is not catching every single harmful ingredient before it gets into the human population. The idea that if you dont like something, or know that its unhealthy, you should just shut up and not buy it is not true. so many things that were thought to be healthy, such as asbestos (causes lung cancer and host of other symptoms) were unable to be banned by the government because industry used thousands of dollars to protect their own interest. the US FDA tried to ban abestos and could not because the chemical companies sued them and got laws passed basically making the FDA jump through hoops (it took DECADES) to ban the substance. and millions of service men, (it as used in the shipyards), and families were poisoned by this chemical. everyday citizens had to fight to have these chemicals banned and if people just moved on and never spread the information then it might still be used today.
    Also food dye allergic reactions have killed thousands more people than that which you listed. many deaths are recorded as “complications of asthma, or allergic reactions, in general because if the food coloring is in something (such as candy) it is difficult to determine after death the exact allergen. my baby sister in fact almost died as a reaction the red food coloring used in infant cough syrup, syrup the peditrician said should be safe. Also children with asthma are much more likely do die or have serious reactions to dyes and their deaths are often seen as asthma complications.

  • [...] heard about all of the crazy scary ingredients that Starbucks puts into their beverages and food, and I’ve still been going [...]

  • So what should we order if we are lactose intolerant and need a soy beverage? Thanks for the info!

  • Stacy

    I am dying to know how you determined which version of carmel coloring Starbucks uses and how I can apply it to my shopping. I already knew I had a sensitivity to Sbucks carmel, but I seem to be able to have Trader Joe’s BBQ sauce with carmel (for example) with no issue. My son cannot handle petrochemicals at all, and carmel color is such a stumper since it can be derived so many ways.

  • Nikki

    late to the party, but I just posted
    “I’m very disappointed by your continual deleting of comments written by people opposed to your use of the carcinogenic ingredient, carageenan, in your soy milk, and caramel coloring in your other foods. Would you consider removing it to show that you are concerned about the heath and safety of your customers?
    here is a comment you deleted:
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=452125441488839&set=a.208386335862752.56063.132535093447877&type=1&permPage=1
    and here is some fantastic info about caramel coloring and carageenan.
    http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/07/18/food-babe-investigates-sabotaged-at-starbucks/
    Thank you for your time!”

  • Nikki

    five whole minutes.

  • Alissabeth

    Pretty much it seems that most of the places that label ‘all natural’ nowadays seem to just be pushing the information into hiding to make it easier for us to be even more ignorant. Thanks for bringing this information to light. I have bought that swirl bread and while it tastes so good, I won’t be getting it again. As for my free birthday drink…I’m having second thoughts on that. They advertise that Refresher way different than the ingredient list shows. Sadly (but not surprisingly), I’m disappointed that they still use HFCS. Oh well. Just one more reason to make it all at home! And after realizing what carageenan is, I think I might consider making my own alternative milk drinks!

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