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Top 5 Ways To Get Sabotaged at Starbucks

Trying to navigate 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 from the vegan community and eliminated that beetle juice (which is linked to allergies). 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…

food babe - starbucks


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 and even state on their website their bakery products are made with “high quality, simple ingredients. 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 or free of GMOs.  For example, the Reduced Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake and Iced Lemon Pound Cake both have over 70 ingredients!

Starbucks Coffee Cake

Iced Lemon Pound Cake

Ingredients in Starbucks food products still include:

  • Refined Flours – White flour that has been stripped of its nutrients (and sometimes bleached) 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 can be found in 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.

food babe - starbucks

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.

Want to know what else could be lurking in natural flavors? Check out this video. 
food babe - starbucks frap

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 or artificial sugars, natural and artificial flavors, GMOs, and a substance called caramel coloring. California recently included caramel coloring on its annual list of carcinogens that require warning labels.

Coffee Frappuccino Syrup: Sugar, Water, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Xanthan Gum (E415), Preservative: Potassium Sorbate (E202), Citric Acid (E330), Caramel Color (E150d)

Light Coffee Frappuccino Syrup: Water, Sugar, Erythritol (E968), Natural Flavors, Salt, Carrageenan (E407), Xanthan Gum (E415), Maltodextrin, Preservative: Potassium Sorbate (E202), Citric Acid (E330), Reb A, Color: Caramel (E150d, E150b)

Mocha Sauce: Corn Syrup, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Cocoa (processed with alkali 13%), Potassium Sorbate (preservative E202), Artificial Flavor.

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?
food babe - starbucks free internet

Despite all these ways in which Starbucks can sabotage me, I have to be honest, I still like to use their free internet when traveling. 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 (don’t forget to leave a good tip for the barista – it’s not their fault Starbucks is sabotaging you). 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 while traveling too.


Food Babe

P.S. If you have a friend or family member that drinks Starbucks – or is wasting their money while getting sabotaged at the same time, please share this information with them. I know they will be incredibly grateful, and will likely save a few bucks now too.

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225 responses to “Top 5 Ways To Get Sabotaged at Starbucks

  1. Thank you for the valuable information you shared about Starbuck’s. One thing did irk me about this story though..
    If you are going to use their free Wifi and hot water how about bringing a reusable cup for your tea so that you don’t cost them a cup and it is another way of saving the environment. Just tipping the Barista doesn’t seem all that wonderful. Businesses have expenses and while you are trying to do good by bringing health to light and making an impact to change, why not make sure you are not wasting a cup?

    1. I absolutely agree! And to be quite honest, there is a cost associated to everything when running a business. Most people take the stance that Starbucks is a multi-billion dollar company and can afford to give out free cups of hot water and have seating space taken in their cafe by non-paying customers. Most believe that these things will have little or no effect upon the company, however each store manager is held accountable to the over all performance of the store. These store managers are hardly making billions of dollars and they don’t receive a dime from the “tip” that is suggested you leave.
      It’s just a small reminder that there is a cost to everything, and that the pocket it comes out of isn’t always whose you would expect. We shouldn’t feel so entitled to “free” all the time just because we feel like the person we are taking it from can afford it. I say all this as a former Starbucks employee and also as a small business owner.
      Thanks for hearing out my vent session and happy to see there are others that felt this was slightly skewed advice.

      1. You can’t be serious.
        If I tried to pay for a cup of hot water, I guarantee you that any worthy store manager would refuse payment. Certainly any “solution” to this “problem” would damage customer service perception more than help the bottom line. Ask yourself what critical mass would actually make a dent here. I don’t see people sucking the hot water teet of Starbucks in droves – social stigma would never allow it. Remember to measure your ideals against the real world. This is one of those “cost of doing business” situations, and Starbucks knows it. But if I’m wrong, perhaps someone will carve out a lucrative career as Starbucks Water-Nazi Consultant.

    2. Agreed, that was my beef too. I really hate it when people sit there all day and all I want is a chair for 15 minutes while I enjoy my coffee

  2. Thanks for the story, if only there was someone I could buy good information from? I’m curious why your “research” only includes speculation, hypotheticals and rhetorical questions? It’s not an attempt to discredit an outstanding company who loves both it’s customers as well as employees is it? I had to stop with your speculation on the beans and pesticides, because it simply is not true! You are a fear Monet and I hope the lemmings who pay you at some point figure out that your a snake oil salesman

      1. You twit. The onus is on the author to prove HER claims, and she hasn’t. If I tell you the sky is falling, you don’t ask your neighbor who remains outside to prove to you that it is not.

  3. Thanks food babe, a definite eye opener as I enjoy a daily venti black coffee and wasn’t thinking much about Organic for my morning pick me up. Time to fire up the grinder and make my own.
    Keep up the great work as Organic/non-gmo is getting a lot of press lately!! Companies will change when consumer $$ show a demand for it!

  4. If I’m not mistaken, this is a repost of a 2012 blog on which I commented refuted almost the entirety of point # 1.

    As a 15 year veteran of the specialty coffee industry on both coasts of the US, I can assure you of a few things:
    1. It has been scientifically proven over countless studies with mountains of empirical evidence that any pesticides that remain on the bean itself (after the cherry has been removed and after the silverskin have been removed) are entirely eradicated in the roasting process based on the excess of 350-450 degrees F in which the beans are roasted. So, finished, roasted coffee that is then ground and then brewed and then consumed have anywhere between zero and trace amounts of any pesticides. It’s not like comparing unwashed, sprayed fruits to roasted coffee beans is an apples to apples fair comparison.
    2. Organic coffees have not been proven in any way to be better in terms of taste quality than conventional coffee, not that you stated it, I am stating it, but with respect to high end, specialty coffee, a great majority of farms ARE already farming utilizing organic practices, however, the farmers cannot afford, or do not wish to pay for the unfairly expensive certification costs. Moreover, a farm would need to be dormant for around five or more years to gain organic certification from a certifying agency. What exactly is a farmer going to do with zero income for five years while waiting for the farm to get to a level of passing an organic certification test, which isn’t even a guarantee?
    3. You mention decaf: You are correct in that many decafs use ethyl acetate or methylene chloride. You make it sound as if these are the worst things ever created, yet you do realize that these are naturally occurring compounds in fruit and humans ingest them in small doses anyway? Don’t use those scare tactics to get people blindly over to your side of the argument without showing BOTH sides.

    The majority of specialty coffee companies use what is known as either the Water Method, or the Swiss Water Method, which is a chemical free way of decaffeinating the coffee. You are correct in that Starbucks uses the methylene chloride or ethyl acetate method in all but ONE of their decaf coffees. It’s a simple test-pick up the bag of decaf coffee and look at it. If it says water processed, then go ahead, drink it, you’re fine. If not, make the decision yourself, but it’s probably using the chemical method(s) outlined above.

    I don’t mind you coming down on a corporate behemoth, I just mind you doing it without full transparency and continuing to gain support and traction without telling a full story.

    1. I believe they discontinued the one decaf option that used the swiss water process several years ago. Have they introduced a new one?

      1. Sally,
        I don’t know the answer to that, honestly. Their Decaf Sumatra used to be water processed, but even then it was their only option.
        Still, that’s only one small part of my post and my attempt to refute what Food Babe is doing to fear monger against coffee. I’m certainly not pro-Starbucks, but I’m anti-hysteria and anti-opinion over fact.

    2. Thank you Alex! She was totally freaking me out! I love Starbucks. I don’t drink it everyday it’s more of a special treat for me, but WOW Food Babe really knows how to scare the poo out of someone!

      1. Kamilyn,
        don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Starbucks to be honest for a variety of reasons, but I’m less of a fan of falsehoods and half truths.

        The Food Babe likes to only tell part of the story.

    3. I worked for Starbucks for over 5 years. I absolutely follow The Food Babe and enjoy learning from her and her teams research. I am from the Pacific NW and know that slowly Starbucks is changing ingredients. Starbucks always listens to their customer, so if you want to see more items removed and would like to see certified organic tell corporate. I will offer that most all farms they harvest from are using organic practices but cannot afford to be certified (look up the why’s, there are a lot). If you want a black cup of coffee your Barista can make an individually brewed cup from any coffee they sell in the store, so ask for an organic certified one or order a coffee press requesting the organic certified coffee. The pastries have changed, at least in some stores in the NW. The company they acquired is called La Boulange, it is a bakery based out of San Francisco. Food Babe can research the La Boulange line? As employees we were told it is a French bakery using better ingredients…thank you. Starbucks was a great company to work for as for the ingredients they use, I agree some changes are due. One item in particular I always found interesting; the caramel sauce. The caramel sauce used “behind the bar” for making drinks has high fructose corn syrup, however the caramel sauce they sell in retail ( for customers to buy for home use) did not. All in all this is just another reminder that we need to remain diligent in the pursuit of eating real food. Thanks!

  5. I am always grateful that you take time to read, share and tell us about what ingredients are bad for us. But, I disagree that you go the stores and use their free wi-fi when you don’t even consume anything. Not to mention, you still use their disposable cups. Is it so hard to get your own hot water at home or carry your cup to help save the environment at least? I mean, if you are not even buying their products and want a little free water/internet, at least be thoughtful about other things.

    1. This is so true! Thank you for calling her out on this. How rude and arrogant to go into a business, use their resources for free after bashing them. Actually it would be rude even if you liked the business. It’s like going into a restaurant and changing the dishes that are served to something that fits your dietary restrictions. The only exception is for those with (real) allergies. If you don’t want what’s on the menu or offered at a restaurant, cafe, juice bar, etc., stay home, and make your own!

    2. I could not agree more and find it absolutely respect-less to bash someone and then use their resources for free. And then this woman has the audacity to write about it and even put a photograph up, smiling while taking advantage of free stuff.

      1. You people commenting above obviously care more about paying $6 for a cu of coffee than making sure the ingridients are ok. No wonder that companies, in search of profit at the expense of our health will always thrive in this country.

  6. And by the way, you want to sabotage Starbucks for their “sabotaging ways”… After Starbucks shuts down (if that ever happens)… Where would you go sabotage next for hot water and free internet???

  7. Thank you for this! I worked at Starbucks for along time and the longer I was there the more I realized all the junk that was in everything we made!!! And we were falsely telling people ” better, simple ingredients” nope. Which is why I work for whole foods now, and run their coffee bar, if you want to see a company that covers all it’s bases concerning coffee check out Colorado based, allegro coffee. They blow me away with their standards!!!! I love being able to stand behind 2 phenomenal companies like the are!!! And feel good about what I tell people!! No lies! 🙂

      1. What would like to know? I currently work there and have for 6 1/2 years.

        People take cheap shots at Starbucks because it is a big company and they think ‘who care’s’, but if people really cared about the crap that they put in their body and wanted to blow the cover on businesses that use “bad” ingredients, then NO ONE would eat fast food and everyone would eat home cooked meals with ingredients they grow on their own.

        And as for the point of Howard not drinking frappuccino’s? No he doesn’t, he likes passion tea. I’ve met and served him.

    1. Whole Foods has a slew of issues themselves and even more outrageous pricing. don’t be fooled that your employer now is so wonderful

  8. Your information is appreciated, but not surprising given the state of our food today,

    The article, however, is poorly written. As a writer and editor I firmly believe that anything published, whether online or in print, should be grammatically correct, with proper word usage. An example: “coffee that’s ridden with…” should read ‘riddled with’. Also, use of the word ‘gotten’ is very poor form.

    There’s much more, but I’m sure you get the idea. Your content is helpful but if you intend to make writing a profession, please work on that part of your craft.

    Thank you.

    1. I’m sure she got a decent paycheck in spite of it Teach. Relax a little! Sometimes the writing is more interesting with a few mistakes- at least some of us average folk think so.

  9. I don’t know if this has been mentioned but there is a way to get organic coffee at any starbucks. Most people don’t know that you can go to the shelf with whole bean coffee bags, pick out the organic, fair-trade coffee (there’s usually one one), take it to the counter, and tell them you want a french press using that coffee. They will open the bag, grind the beans, make a french press, and bring it out to you. The press will produce 2-3 venti-sized cups. The bonus is that french press is a much better cup of coffee than drop coffee too.

    The cost? The last time I did it that way it was about $3. That’s worth it for organic french press but it’s especially cost-effective if you’re sharing it with someone.


    1. Yes Tim you can do that, except that if you want your coffee to stay organic (as we no longer have the organic shade grown mexico), grind it at home and bring it in. The organic coffee is no longer organic after it goes through our grinders as we grind all of our coffee through the same machine.

  10. If you thought you were getting anything healthy from Starbuck’s, you’re an idiot. Americans need to wake up, quit trying to justify the junk you eat.

    1. Americans? America goes from Canada to Chile and it is divided in North America, Central America and South America so… who are you referring to _

  11. Damn right Starbucks is a bunch of crap. A fine coffee maker who serves excellent coffee says they buy & serve the cheapest inferior coffee grounds they can buy. I hope they soon go out of business & imagine they will.

    1. Yes, I had a friend who took a trip to Costa Rica. He went on the tours of the coffee beans that are sold to the Starbucks. He was also told that Costa Rica and other countries sell Starbucks their BAD beans. The ones they would not sell themselves. Seconds if you will. That is what Starbucks is selling. Not so great coffee from not so great coffee beans from around the world. Why do you think Starbucks buys these beans so cheap???

  12. Wow, I am shocked! Absolutely in disbelief that the majority of comments I read were bashing Vani for using Starbucks’ free amenities. Businesses have sunk costs all the time. Billboards, magazine and television advertisements, promotions and giveaways (like your free birthday drink), and countless others. Using Starbucks’ hot water or internet is a way to gain Brand loyalty. Do you think Vani will return to Starbucks in the future? You bet! If Starbucks improves its offerings, she may even become a regular paying customer now that she has the habit going there. And what about her friends that go with her? They, too, will probably be buying something either in the franchise or on the grocery store shelves. There is a cost for acquiring customers, even if they buy nothing today.

    1. Daniel,

      I don’t think you quite have the concept of sunk cost. Sunk costs would be rent on the space, lighting, or other utilities. So, yes, those would be the same (basically) whether Vani was there or not.
      What is not a sunk cost is:
      1. The use of internet (as more people use it, the slower it becomes, and ultimately costs more as they pay for more bandwidth).
      2. The use of the chair and the table. This takes the ability for someone else to use that space who is actually paying to use that space.
      3. The cost of packaging (cup), water (yes, even 12oz.), and labor (even 10 seconds) factors in. Imagine if one person per hour, per store did that. In an 8 hour day that would be that would be 20,891stores x 1/hr x 8 hours=167,128 occurrences, or 464.24 hours of labor, not to mention approximately $626.73 in cup costs.
      So, it isn’t a sunk cost. It’s a very real cost that otherwise wouldn’t exist if freeloaders didn’t enter the equation.

      Your supposition that it builds brand loyalty is fallacious because Vani doesn’t enter the equation as a potential customer, but as a potential combatant against such an establishment. In addition, what about her friends that go with her? It’s making quite a leap that they’d be buying something-who is to say they aren’t of the same mindset as Vani?

      Should I be just as free to go into a Michelin starred restaurant and sit and order water, or perhaps skip that example, and simply choose a gastropub that doesn’t take reservations and does breakfast, lunch, and dinner business, thus operating during the same day parts at Starbucks. I should be able to go in there and take a 4 person booth, work on my laptop and surf Facebook and simply order hot water, right?

      1. Right, you should be able to do that, so where better to start the tradition than in your local multinational that is raping your planet while you get paid by them like every other identity you have on this page tocount cup costs and push this article down. In the UK Starbucks skipped taxes to the tune of millions. Please don’t defend them, how do you look at yourself in the mrror?

      2. Aron,
        I’m not sure why I wasn’t able to respond to you directly, and my last reply was erased somehow, so I’ll try and keep it short and sweet.
        1. I’m not defending Starbucks. I can’t stand the company. Our entire business does in what year what ONE store at Starbucks does, so they are Goliath and we are simply David, but I doubt David would win this fight, unless it’s a fight of quality or supply chain transparency.
        2. You say YOUR local multinational-hate to correct you, but I don’t work for them, and I’m in GA, they are based in WA.
        3. You say YOUR planet. Are you not from planet earth?
        4. Multiple identities-I wish I had the time to run around hiding behind fake names, but I’m Alex and you can see all my posts, and I’d be happy to divulge my full info and credibility within the industry. In fact, anyone who is a techie who understands ISPs could show you how many posts on this entire thread I’ve actually made.
        5. How do I defend them? I’m not defending Starbucks. What I am doing is pointing out the information that Food Babe is providing (in point # 1 out of 5 only) is primarily incorrect with regard to pesticides in coffee. It’s alarmist, it’s fear mongering, and it simply isn’t true.
        6. I look at myself in the mirror quite well. I’m good looking 🙂
        So, what else would you like to talk about? I’d be happy to debate coffee (or tea, I’m an expert there too).

      3. Alex,

        I appreciate your strict definition of sunk costs, but I argue that the Internet has become a basic utility service and the tables are going to be maintained and replaced on a regular schedule whether or not Vani sits at an unoccupied one and accesses the Internet. You are making the assumptions that Vani’s Internet consumption is somehow interfering with paying customers’ usage of the Internet, that Internet traffic is being metered and paid for per byte, that Starbucks does not use QOS (Quality of Service) to prevent one user from hogging all the bandwidth, and that she is visiting at a time when the store is experiencing its heaviest traffic (which would be the only instance when the store would consider buying more bandwidth). In addition, you are assuming that her visits to the store are at peak times when her usage of a table is preventing someone else from finding a seat. If you bothered to fully read the article, you would have noticed the picture showing several empty seats and only one other customer inside. That doesn’t pass for taking resources away from paying customers.

        You got me on the cup. She is consuming a resource there. But for the water, in many states, government regulations require restaurants to provide bathroom facilities, which includes water, to customers (as well as employees). There is no cost difference in ordering water from the counter or acquiring it from the restroom sink. Lastly, you make yet another assumption that the barista spending a few seconds to prepare the water was busy serving other customers or would have been doing other restaurant chores. The harsh reality is that there is a LOT of idle time for Starbucks employees that is being paid. If Vani waited until the barista was standing around doing nothing to ask for the water, then nothing would have been lost. In fact, the employee may have slightly better health having done a little more exercise and burnt a few extra calories (a good thing for America’s obesity epidemic).

        Speaking about fallacies, your “…take a 4 person booth, work on my laptop and surf Facebook and simply order hot water, right?” statement demonstrates the slippery-slope fallacy. The table Vani is sitting at in the picture is a two-person table at best, there are at least three unoccupied separate seating areas with tables (one outside, one next to her, and one on the raised platform to the left). The picture shown in the article followed by your verbal imagery concluding that people will be denied seating and Internet access is an excellent example of slippery-slope.

        Lastly, you prove your lack of reading comprehension by not only denying her status as a potential customer, but also calling her a “potential combatant against such an establishment.” How can you support these statements when she clearly indicates her willingness to purchase specific foods at Starbucks? I’ll provide the sentence for you again, as stated in the article:

        “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 would say “nice try Alex” but it wasn’t nice nor does your reply deserve the label of try.

    2. Aron
      For some reason it wouldn’t let me reply to you directly, but I’ll respond.

      Your post doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I’ll try and break it down:
      1. Are you saying I should be able to sit in a fine dining restaurant and ask for water? Okay, you choose your local fine dining restaurant, do that for 90 minutes and let me know how it goes.
      2. YOUR local multinational-First of all, it’s not mine, I don’t own it, nor do I work for it, nor is it local to me. I’m in GA, not WA.
      3. YOUR planet. Is it not also your planet, or are you from another planet?
      4. Other identities? I assure you, you can find exactly where I’ve posted using my name, Alex, and I’d be happy to reveal my full identity as well as my credentials within the coffee industry.
      5. Defending them? On the contrary, I can’t stand Starbucks. They provide sub par products at prices higher than they should. Based on your mentioning of the UK, I’ll assume that is where you are located. I can’t speak to anything that occurs there as I am in the US, but I can tell you that while I work in the coffee industry, Starbucks is a giant and our company is a very small fish. Our entire wholesale and retail business in a year is what one or two of Starbucks stores does in sales in a year. That said, our products are vastly superior, our supply chain much more transparent, and the farmers much more fairly paid. Believe me, I’d love to see all corporate coffee companies disappear and all independent coffee companies rise up. If that happens, however, get ready to pay a lot more for your coffee.
      6. Pushing the article down, hardly. I’ll keep commenting on it, if you keep commenting on it.
      7. In summary, I was never defending Starbucks, on the contrary, I only touched on 1 of the 5 items that Food Babe outlined, coffee specifically, and I wanted to refute the fact that the information she presented was not true, at least not completely.

  13. Hello,
    I would agree that most of the food is problematic. Not that other major companies do any better, you’d be surprised what actually hides behind things that are certified “organic”.
    I disagree about the coffee though. I know we’re different in Europe than in the US, but they’re at least working towards sustainability. Please don’t get all aggressive that they haven’t gotten far enough. It’s not like you can just find a green coffee farm and buy their beans… you need to work with the people and help them still make a living…

  14. hi,
    last time (REally, LAST TIME) I went to that coffee shop I experienced the WORST pain in my bladder :(. i had a regular coffee, no sugar, non-fat milk thinking it was healthier than adding so much sugar and creamer, but it was so harmful that i’m never going back even if it was for free!
    Now i see why it happened
    thank you!

  15. Hey Food Babe, I think your passion for helping us become more aware about food choices is great. After subscribing to your FB for about 6 months now, it feels frustrating knowing that there are just more and more things out there that we “shouldn’t” be eating. I know that is the whole premise, to stop these corporations from doing this to our food supply, but the posts and research I appreciate most are those that focus on decent brands and foods that are good for us.

  16. don’t care first off Starbucks is high end cost any way EVERYTHING at the Airport is increased in price over 70%— if your only eating it once a month or less I don’t see a prob with it — the high cost of it is mostly why i stay out would rather buy a package of bagels at the grocery or get it from a local shop – sigh Just about everything we eat or drink today has something wrong with it or has some one being oppressed by how it is made- shipped- processed – make everything yourself or quit complaining about it — got a heavy grist mill in your back yard ??????? (This is Spoiled Yuppie B.S.) folks want FAST Quick Instant – and that is how MOST of this prob we have now happened – just because it is cheap and easy don’t make it good – (you can pack in your purse apples and oranges- zip lock bags of nuts you can bake muffins at home )- Oranges and tangerines are in season now stock up – grab and go something good yeah get the coffee or green tea to go with it – nothing wrong with that – in all things Balance – I am not looking towards fast food joints and coffee shops for my healthy living foods they are treats – once a month not a daily occurrence

  17. Well I hate to break it to you but most of your flavored waters also have crushed bugs along with a lot of your organic foods because it is considered natural. And if you don’t know what your looking for then you would never know it was in there.

  18. Food Babe is lifting the veil for all of us. Finding out what is going on in the world of food and cosmetics is a job she works very hard at. I think she deserves a free cup of hot water!!!!!!!!!

  19. I’m an entomologist and you lost me right out of the gate when you started in on the scandalous nature of cochineal.. These bugs have been used as a food coloring for years. A potential allergen for some people? I suppose. Mind you, I’ve never met anyone with an allergy to cochineal as opposed to say, seafood or peanuts. Starbucks serves both dairy products and nut products, but this doesn’t bother you.

    It is not shocking that insects are used in food. Until recently, Snapple used Cochineal. It is not a synthetic product and it is far better than coal tar colors or most synthetics. As population expands, humans will be eating more insects, and doing so knowingly and enthusiastically. You are already eating plenty of insects now, probably with every meal. Do you think when a field of grain is harvested, that all the insects are being sifted out? Or do you prefer your food saturated with pesticides? I sure don’t. Like the song says, give me worms in my apples.

    The hysterical squickiness about bugs in food is counterproductive. This is the kind of ill-informed hysteria that led to the proliferation of all the anti-bacterial grooming & cleaning products containing hormone-disrupting chemicals. Stop it!

    That cup of organic locally-sourced herbal tea you had this morning? Dimes to doughnuts you enthusiastically sweetened it with bug* vomit, that is to say HONEY!

    * Bees aren’t bugs, but then cochineal bugs aren’t beetles.

  20. This is the most uninformed and misguided BS. The only evidence you have is of the caramel colorings. Read any ingredient list on almost ANYTHING at ANY other store and you will find the same result…. Nobody claimed a blended drink full of sugar was healthy. Why are you surprised Frappuccinos have colorings? Idiot.

    As for the rest of it, poorly informed and inflammatory. The food has changed to a new vendor that uses real ingredients, and our coffee is 3rd party certified in the processing to be chemical free, many are Certified Organic. Get your facts straight.

  21. Anyone who is actually concerned with natural living/eating practices and against large corporations probably isn’t going to Starbucks that often.

  22. How about the unsweetened green iced tea, I’m addicted to it??? I carry my own stevia with me

  23. ya all want home made home grown and pure etc stay home make yr own. And bless your food it will change the subatomic structure of the food, it has been proven with water. have fun, grind yr own, roast yr own, make your own. But then ya all are workaholics and do not have time for that, so you get in line and spend all that hard earned money on yup you said it, Starbucks coffee etc. no one is making you go there. so don-t

  24. I’m wondering if you’ve seen either of the documentaries “bananas*” or “Big Boys Gone Bananas*”. If not, you should. After, you probably won’t want the banana either…

  25. Clarification: organic does not mean “no pesticides”. The organic standard has a lengthy list of allowable pesticides. Just because they are organic does not mean they are good for you or harm free (they are designed, after all, to kill creatures).

  26. My rule these days is simple – If there are more than 5 ingredients then it’s too complicated. Most of the time I’ll accept up to 10 ingredients. But it’s really easy to see when something blows over that like these products do. The other rule I use is that of being able to make it myself. If I can’t possibly make this myself very easily, then I won’t eat it.

  27. Well, after all of that I have gone back to pull some items for further research and now see that you do have some internal links to sources. I could not see them before. I would not call all of them trusted resources, but this is a start. Much better. 🙂

  28. I don’t trust this website at all. There’s a whole lot of insinuation with no attribution, and no scientific references at all. For example, they say that pesticides are used on coffee, but no indication or studies measuring the pesticide content in the coffee we drink. It’s like implying that apple seeds are bad for you because apples are sprayed with pesticides. The may be, but the fact doesn’t lead to the conclusion.

    I remember a long time ago that some folks were saying that decaffinated tea was bad for you because chemicals were used in the decaf process. But when the decaf tea leaves were tested, there was absolutely zero chemical residue. That may or may not be true of coffee, but the site doesn’t address the issue at all – it just says that decaf coffee may be bad for you because of the chemicals used in the process. It’s far more likely that any possible chemical residue is removed in the roasting process.

  29. I worked at Starbucks when I was in college (15 years ago?!) . Even working there, without reading labels , I knew something was wrong. I could drink the coffee, sure. But the second I tasted frappacinos (they were new then) I wanted to puke. My body knew there was something super toxic in there….I never drank those things, nor ate the pastries, because they tasted “off” to me. Thanks for illumninating this!

  30. I’m a librarian and our library’s cafe serves Starbuck’s coffee. I only drink plain old coffee and usually get just one cup. I’ve noticed in the last few weeks that it’s (mildly) upsetting my stomach. I’ve eliminated every possible thing I might add to it, milks of various kinds, sweeteners of various kinds, and it’s pretty clearly the coffee itself. I don’t have any problem with the coffee I make at home. I think Starbuck’s is adding something to this coffee.

  31. Food Babe- I greatly appreciate all of the great information and you bringing to light the bad aspects of Starbucks.

    Since you still like to go their to use their free internet and hot water, I think it would also be good to know the drinks and foods you do like and would promote as being healthy. It can’t ALL be bad, right?

  32. I think people are on some sort of mindset that if a place sells well, is always full of people, and profits well, they must be good for us. So now that FoodBabe comes out explaining the horrible things that ARE in their products, lots of people are suddenly upset at her and want to assume she’s making this all up. For the most part, if a food industry does really well, starbucks level of well, it’s right up there with McDonalds in product quality. While a purely organic food establishment MAY do just as well, it is rare, and if they’re around, most of us have never heard of them. In fact, I’m sure the only place that comes to mind is Chipotle.

    What about Peets Coffee and Tea? And Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf? Can you let us know what you discover about other common coffee shops, as well? Also, Dutch Brothers Coffee.

  33. Will you PLEASE add a date to your articles and posts. It will give you so more credibility. Real news stories, articles and journals uses dates to distinguish editions and revisions, and current vs. old. I don’t like having to rely on the date of the first comment to figure out when the article was first introduced.

  34. First lets start with the pastries, you cannot expect to go to any “fast food” place and expect organic pastries they have evolution bars which would maybe fit what you want. Second if you are having a frappuccino get cream base sure there’s sugar but no caramel color and it will not taste different. Third I have no idea where you got that list for mocha sauce ingredients ( maybe the sauce they sell on the website) but the stores use a powder and the ingredients in that are SUGAR, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), VANILLA. MANUFACTURED ON SHARED EQUIPMENT PROCESSING TREE NUTS, PEANUTS, MILK, EGGS, SOY, WHEAT/GLUTEN not the crap you have listed, I think you used the ingredients from the Fontana brand sauce on the website. Also all the pastry ingredients have changed since Starbucks went to the La Boulange pastries, maybe the article should be updated for those. Again you cannot walk into an inter national chain anywhere and expect all organic ingredients it’s just not going to happen. Also Starbucks uses methyl chloride for decaffination and they’re is no detectable residue after the beans are roasted.

  35. I know you job is to just look on the surface at the food but I would encourage people to also talk to their local Coffee Master in Starbucks. Unlike other companies Starbucks has experts who live in coffee growing regions who help make sure the farmers are using sustainable growing practices, they help farmers get medical care and education. Farmers get paid better from Starbucks for the beans and again they get more than just paid, they have resources they can count on to help make a difference in their lives. Consider the entire company before demonizing the company. Yes there are things that could be better there is in every company, especially some ingredients but I have to be picky everywhere I go why would it be any different at Starbucks.

  36. Let me make it clear here: has it occurred to you that the company called Monsanto who is the top manufacturer for genetically modified organisms is monstrously rich and has the power to pay any federal officer or chairman to say that GMO’s are safe? Just saying…

    I can state a dozen more reasons on how companies like Monsanto are clearly detrimental, but you can research that for yourself. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at this article from Wikipedia:
    “Monsanto’s role in these changes in agriculture (which include its litigation and its seed commercialization practices[17]), its current and former biotechnology products, its lobbying of government agencies, and its history as a chemical company have made Monsanto controversial.”

    1. To Justicia…

      Denying the safety and benefits of GMOs because you don’t like Monsanto is as intellectually dishonest as denying climate science because you don’t like Al Gore. GMOs are not perfect; there are real concerns; but the argument that big companies are paying off independently working scientists from around the world to LIE about GMO safety sounds like conspiracy theory nutcase talk.

      If you were really interested in whether GMOs are harmful or not, you’d be searching for the best info you can get on the subject, i.e., from experts in genetic engineering – those with pHds who have studied DNA their entire lives. Formulating an opinion about GMOs from those not qualified in the subject matter is bad science.

      If you look at the peer reviewed research, what you will find is a plethora of studies from the National Academy of Sciences, govts, regulatory agencies, geneticists with phds, etc that show GMOs present no significant safety concerns to humans or the environment beyond those already encountered in agriculture – not to mention the great hope GMOs provide IMPROVING human health and nutrition; developing sustainable agriculture, with reduced environmental consequences; helping to solve the climate/energy challenge; developing new products and compounds that provide economic growth, etc etc etc.

  37. What concerns me about this article is that Starbucks is doing nothing that other food and drink establishments are doing; in fact, they are actually doing much better. As a researcher myself, I find it odd that you have written two separate pieces on Starbucks and how poor their food and drinks are. The question this leaves me with is: why do you have so much hate for Starbucks? Why don’t you go sit at McDonalds or Taco Bell where millions of people, especially low to middle class, take themselves and their family to eat every day, and look and the horrible ingredients they put in their good. Let’s not worry about a good die that is made from a food that is in 98% of everything red you eat or flavorings; let’s worry about the products other companies pass off as meat and “healthy alternatives” that they are serving to children. Personally, I think Starbucks is overrated; however, about once a month I do love a Venti extra hot white mocha. Yep, it’s loaded with sugar and things that are bad for me…I know it. Don’t care. I’m also concerned, as others seem to be, that you sat in Starbucks and used their wifi and took a seat there and wrote bad things about them. How about: “Hey Starbucks, your staff was great to me and your seats are comfortable and by the way, thanks for the free wifi while I bash you.” As a researcher, you are warned against prejudices, this assuming you studied at a reputable university. Watch the prejudices. They are blatantly obvious and the things you complain about, well, in the big picture, they just are not that big of a deal. However, nice writing skills. As I write this from my iPhone at 10:30 pm I’m sure I will look back at the grammar mistakes and cringe. Thank you.

  38. You might have to check, but I’m pretty sure the plain chai tea is organic. (the one that is actually steeped from the bag, not the chai latte with all the additives). I used to buy Tazo chai and I only ever saw organic chai, never any conventional version. Since Starbucks sells Tazo teas, I’m thinking the chai might be organic.

  39. As a barista at Starbucks I’ll admit. I even avoid the food and many beverages. But THANK YOU for not blaming us for what corporate decides!

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