Starbucks has drawn the ire of a vegan group that is upset over the revelation that some of the coffee chain's drinks may not be vegetarian-friendly -- since the drinks contain the extract of ground-up insects.

According to the Website,, a barista who works for a Starbucks store in the Midwest forwarded a picture of the ingredient list of the new strawberry sauce used in the chain's Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino as well as its strawberry smoothies.

The list revealed that the sauce contains cochineal extract or carmine -- a red dye made from the bodies of dried parasitic insects, also used in cosmetics, shampoos and other foods.

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, it takes as many as 70,000 cochineal beetles to extract enough red pigment to produce one pound of the dye.

The website reported that the barista who sent the picture said the recipe for the sauce must have been changed a few weeks ago -- in support of the company's efforts to offer dairy free drinks without artificial ingredients.

According to the Seattle Times, Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson confirmed that cochineal extract is used in some of the company's beverages.

"The strawberry base for our Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino does contain cochineal extract, a common natural dye that is used in the food industry, and it helps us move away from artificial ingredients," Olson said in a statement.

Cochineal extract is deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration, but a small segment of the population is allergic to it. So the agency requires it to be listed on the label of all food and cosmetics produced in the U.S.

However, restaurants and cafes are exempt from displaying labeling on packaged food products.