In June 2010 the website This Dish is Vegetarian
proudly announced to their readers that vegans could rejoice at the new "vegan friendly soy-based" strawberry frappuccino
introduced by Starbucks. In actuality Starbucks press release
didn't claim the drink was vegan friendly, as they announced "soy lovers can rejoice" with this "non-dairy version of a classic recipe."
According to a barista working for Starbucks the recipe was changed towards the end of 2011. She wrote to This Dish is Vegetarian saying the ingredients changed "when our strawberry sauce got new packaging. I was hoping you guys could help get the word out there so that no veg*ns end up drinking this formerly vegan frappucino by mistake"
In the meantime consumers who failed to read the labels on their strawberry frappuccinos were happily ingesting cochineal extract, a natural red dye obtained from crushed cochineal bugs, and not exactly vegan friendly. Starbucks never hid the ingredient but it didn't really come to public attention until the barista popped the myth.
In reality having a few crushed bugs in the food supply is pretty standard and actually perfectly allowable by the FDA which endorses the practice.
Consumers who prefer to avoid the addition of bug extracts in their food and beverages should start to check out the labels on yogurts, jams, meat, and a host of other delectable goodies which regularly have cochineal added.