Starbucks Officially Replacing Red Bug Dye

They're replacing cochineal extract with lycopene, a tomato-based extract

Looks like all that fuss over red insect dye actually caused some change; Starbucks is phasing out the use of cochineal extract.

Last month, Starbucks got a lot of press when news broke that their strawberry soy smoothies weren't really vegan due to a certain ingredient. The FDA-approved cochineal extract, often used as red dye, is made from ground-up dried female insects (dactylopius coccus Costa).

Luckily for squeamish folks and vegans alike, Starbucks has decided to gradually phase out the use of cochineal extract in both its drinks and food products.

The brand will be phasing in lycopene, a tomato-based extract, to color their strawberry base, raspberry swirl cake, birthday cake pops, mini doughnuts with pink icing, and red velvet whoopie pie.

A full transition is expected to be completed by the end of June 2012, a representative tells us.