The company, in an effort to reduce use of artificial ingredients, has turned to cochineal extract -- dried and ground remains of the cochineal bug, according to ABC News.
The extract is often used as food dye; however, the World Health Organization has warned it could trigger asthma or an allergic reaction in some people, ABC said.
In response to inquiries, Starbucks released the following statement, which partially addresses questions the company had received from vegans:
"At Starbucks, we strive to carry products that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles and needs. We also have the goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products. While the strawberry base isn't a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes.
"Many Starbucks ingredients can be combined to create a beverage free from animal-derived products; however, we are unable to guarantee this due to the potential cross-contamination with other animal-derived products in our retail locations."