Q & A Board - View Post
Author:  Shmuel Chait
E-mail:  not available
Date:  5/6/2012 7:24:00 AM
Subject:  Starbucks Strawberry Frapaccino
Message:  Hi Rabbi Abadi,
Does the following story effect the Kashrus of this Frapaccino?

"Luzmila Ruiz holds a spool of dyed yarn, made from the cochineal insect, which is crushed in her hand as well as a ball made up of thousands of crushed insects, in this Nov. 2006 file photo.

You can get your Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino venti, grande or tall. You just can't get it without insects, to which it owes its pink and rosy color.

In what the company, in a statement, says was a move intended to reduce its use of artificial ingredients, Starbucks has started using cochineal extract to supply its Frappuccinos' strawberry hue. Cochineal extract is derived from grinding up insects, the dried bodies of cochineal bugs, found primarily in Mexico and South America. Cochineal dye has been used as a coloring agent since the 15th century.

Before you get all cold-and-bothered about your insect-Frappuccino, be advised: Cochineal is considered safe by the FDA, and is widely used for coloration in jams, preserves, meat, marinades, alcoholic drinks, bakery products, cookies, cheddar cheese and many other food products.

It has been found by the World Health Organization, however, to cause asthma in some people, and in some others an allergic reaction.

Starbucks' statement, issued partly in response to vegans' asking if the use of this ingredient makes Strawberry Frappuccino vegan or not, reads in full:

"At Starbucks, we strive to carry products that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles and needs. We also have the goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products. While the strawberry base isn't a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes.

"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."

A vegetarian website, ThisDishIsVegetarian.com, brands the strawberry insecto-Frapp non-vegan."

Thank you
Reply:  I guess you are asking for more than a yes or no, because I believe you know that answer, so here you go. And Yes, you're right. There's no problem with Starbucks drinks.

As we all know, we have a concept of Batel Be'Shishim. This means that something that isn't Kosher that is in a product is ok, if the non-kosher volume is less than 1/60th of the food. The concept is that we can't taste it. That is a measurement that our Rabbis of several thousand years ago determined is certainly not going to be tasted in the food. If however there was a reliable way to tell if it cannot be tasted, it can be even more than 1/60th and it is still ok.

Clearly there is no taste of insects in my drink at Starbucks. So there is no problem in regards to Jewish Law.

Now, if there was a taste of insects in your drink, it would still not be a problem, because we have a concept called "Noten Taam Lifgam". This means that if a non-kosher item falls into your food, if it gives a bad flavor to the food, it is ok even though you can taste it. For example, if some meat falls into your ice cream....
So, the entire concept is not even possible to be a problem.

Now, I know there are websites and people providing all types of warnings. It is often a combination of ignorance and a possibility that someone is trying to get the Rabbinic Supervision account from Starbucks. There's a lot of money, or the dream of it, in a deal like that.

Jewish Law is very clear. Open a Shulchan Aruch and it is all there.


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