Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes Are Toxic-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Reports alleging that Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte includes a toxic artificial caramel color have gone viral on social media and blog sites.
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte includes caramel coloring, but there’s no proof that it’s toxic.
Starbucks sells the Fontana Pumpkin Sauce it uses to brew Pumpkin Spice Lattes in its online store. Its list of ingredients includes caramel color and natural and artificial flavors.
The eRumor alleges that the caramel coloring found in the Pumpkin Spice Latte is a cancer-causing chemical compound called 4-MEI, or Class IV Caramel Coloring. But there’s no evidence that the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte includes 4-MEI, or that it actually causes cancer.
Foods containing added colors must list them either by name or as “artificial colors” in the ingredients statement on the food label. Because there are other artificial colors, the presence of “artificial colors” on a food label does not necessarily mean that caramel coloring is contained in the food. Also, the presence of “caramel coloring” on a food label does not necessarily mean that the food contains 4-MEI, because the term “caramel coloring” also may be used to describe Class I and Class II caramel coloring. Class I and Class II caramel coloring do not contain 4-MEI.
And, even if Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte does include 4-MEI, FDA says there’s no proof that it’s harmful to humans:
Based on the available information, FDA has no reason to believe that there is any immediate or short-term danger presented by 4-MEI at the levels expected in food from the use of caramel coloring.
It’s also “virtually impossible” to eliminate 4-MEI from foods because its not an additive. It’s a byproduct of food prep activities like roasting coffee beans or grilling meats, FDA says.