Whether people are buying it in the supermarket or within the plentiful store locations that exist in every town, everybody seems to love Starbucks Coffee. The Starbucks brand is so beloved that the owner now thinks he has a shot at becoming the President of the United States. But last October, a woman, Christine Schadler, walked into a Massachusetts Starbucks only to find bugs crawling on the sandwiches kept within the store’s display case. Unfortunately for the multi-billion dollar company, it did not take long before this incident was described in detail on news stations throughout the state.

Many people may not remember the days when Starbucks was selling caffeinated beverages that included insects as an ingredient. These insects are known as cochineal insects, and their red exoskeletons were smashed into powder in order to be used as a “natural” coloring within the store’s beverages. Although cochineal insects have been used as a coloring within a variety of food and beverage products for centuries, the American public could not stomach the idea of consuming powdered insect corpses. Due to a public uproar, officials with the corporation decided to discontinue the use of insects as a source of beverage coloring. However, this was not the last time that insects became an issue for Starbucks.

Once Schadler and her family noticed numerous little bugs crawling all over the sandwiches in the store’s display case, she brought the issue to the attention of the cashier. Much to Schadler’s disgust, the cashier responded by saying that the store had been struggling to have insects eradicated from the premises for “weeks”. Needless to say, but this was not comforting news to Schadler and her relatives.

Schadler encountered these insects within a Starbucks located within a Target store in Millford. The store was managed and staffed with Target employees, and when the news of the insects reached the Starbucks home office, officials with the company claimed that such an incident is not typical of Starbucks, and the display case would be immediately cleaned. To the store’s credit, the insects were only found infesting fake food that was meant solely for display, and Target’s management claimed that the store had undergone a pest inspection and passed.

Did you known that insects are regularly used as a source of food coloring?