Friday, April 20, 2012

Starbucks to phase out bug extract as food dye

Crushed cochineal extract has been used as a red dye for centuries, but it won't be used for much longer by Starbucks.Crushed cochineal extract has been used as a red dye for centuries, but it won't be used for much longer by Starbucks.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Want some crushed bugs with your Starbucks frappuccino?

Well, you'd better get on it, because soon it will be too late. The coffee franchise announced that it's phasing out the use of insects as food coloring in its drinks and food products.

Starbucks President Cliff Burrows wrote, in a Thursday blog, that Starbucks is "transitioning" away from the use of an insect called the cochineal.

Burrows blogged that Starbucks "fell short of your expectations by using natural cochineal extract as a colorant in four food and two beverage offerings in the United States."

He identified the products in question as the Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Raspberry Swirl Cake, Birthday Cake Pop, Mini Donut with pink icing and Red Velvet Whoopie Pie.

Burrows said that use of the insect dye will be "fully transitioned from existing product inventories" by the end of June.

From that point on, he said that Starbucks will use lycopene, a tomato-based extract.

An earlier Burrows blog from March 29 described the cochineal as a natural product, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, with no health risk.

Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson said the company was responding to numerous petitions and individual requests from customers who were concerned about the use of an insect-based extract.

The organization contacted CNNMoney to claim partial responsibility for pressuring Starbucks with its petition of 6,000 signatures gathered by blogger Daelyn Fortney. The purpose, according to Fortney, was to switch to a "vegan-friendly" extract.

The cochineal has a long history as being used as a red dye, according to Richard Levine, communications 
program manager for the Entomological Society of America.

"The red in the uniforms of the British soldiers during the Revolutionary War came from cochineal dye," he said. "The same goes for the uniforms of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police."

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Govt bans use of live animals for education, research

MUMBAI: The Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has banned the use of live animals in dissection and other experiments in educational and research institutions. But scientists conducting new molecular research will be exempted from the ban.

Based on the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960), the MoEF has issued guidelines to the University Grants Commission, ministry of health and family welfare, Pharmacy Council of India and the Medical Council of India to discontinue dissection and experiments with live animals in universities, colleges, research institutes, hospitals, laboratories and instead use alternatives like computer simulation.

The MoEF says that the central government is duty-bound to use alternatives to avoid unnecessary suffering or pain to animals.

It states that effective alternatives in the form of CDs, computer simulations and mannequin models are available; they are not only effective as absolute replacements for animals in teaching anatomy or physiology but are also superior learning tools in teaching of pharmacy or life sciences.

The guidelines were framed based on the duties of the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments and Animals (CPCSEA), which has been constituted under the provisions of Section 15 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960).

The committee comprises seven nominees - three nominees appointed by CPCSEA and the remaining four from educational institutes.

"The animal experiments should be stopped in all institutes except for the purpose of new molecular research. Sometimes, in laboratories, a lot of work is repeated and animals become unnecessary victims. Only scientists researching on a new molecular theory can experiment on animals. In medical and pharmacy colleges, there is unwanted cruelty towards animals which can be avoided. These guidelines mention imprisonment for five years and monetary penalty," said Mangal Jain, a nominee of the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee (IAEC), which is appointed by CPCSEA.

Hoshang Bilimoria, also a nominee appointed by the CPCSEA, said the guidelines were a welcome change.

"CPCSEA should give the nominees the power to inspect animals housed in educational institutes, experimentation centres or technical laboratories without prior intimation to the institutes. Cross-checks should also be maintained through other members," said Bilimoria.

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