They’re seemingly on every corner in North America.
Identified as the most popular coffeehouse chain, Starbucks, like other big chains, is about business and the bottom line, its grassroots origins are notwithstanding.
As one of the big billionaire corporations, Starbucks has a lot more going on behind the scenes. While your black coffee may be pretty straightforward, other menu items contain some pretty surprising ingredients.
Starbuck’ secret may just influence where you buy your next cup o’ joe.
A Dirty Starbucks Secret
Starbucks is a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). This organization represents the largest food sellers in the United States: from genetically-engineered seeds and agricultural chemicals to dairy products and processed foods—including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Mills, Nestlé, Del Monte, and more than 250 others. It is a very powerful lobby that influences how we grow, market, and sell food.
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In 2013, the state of Washington filed suit against the GMA for money laundering and fraud in the $70 million campaign against labeling foods that contain genetically-modified organisms (GMO).
In 2007, Starbucks threw concerned consumers a very small bone by consciously and vocally removing the use of milk with Monsanto’s rBGH (growth hormone) in its beverages. They touted this act in an announcement that they were going GMO-free. However, they have a long way to go.
What’s more, their milk still contains antibiotics and comes from factory cows raised in unsanitary and nonethical conditions. When you count all the 23,000 Starbucks stores in 64 different countries, this amounts to insane quantities of milk.
According to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) in 2011, Starbucks purchased over, ‘93 million gallons of milk per year, enough to fill 155 Olympic-sized swimming pools.’ (1)
More than Just the Milk
Misleading and bold advertising effectively hides Starbucks’ secret: its use of GMO is prevalent, from their milk (factory-farmed cows are fed GMO corn and soy) to its sandwiches and baked goods. The nutritional labels in their stores do not reflect these ingredients.
As Food Democracy Now put it: ‘In the past two years alone, Starbucks has been a part of a GMA-led coalition that has donated more than $70 million dollars to defeat GMO labeling efforts in California and Washington State. By opposing GMO labeling, Starbucks has willingly climbed in bed with Monsanto and the GMA and is intentionally misleading customers about their commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing.’(2)