Claim: Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte contains numerous toxins, and the coffee giant is hiding the drink's ingredient list.
Example: [Collected via email, August 2014]
Origins: In August 2014, an image alleging the popular Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte was full of dangerous chemicals was widely circulated on social media sites. Alongside it was a claim that the coffee giant had been less than forthcoming in response to requests for ingredient lists and was deliberately keeping Starbucks drinkers in the dark.
However, an available list of ingredients for the Pumpkin Spice Latte syrup can be found here on the Starbucks web site. The timing of the Pumpkin Spice Latte panic was almost certainly not coincidental, as the popular drink appears in Starbucks only in the autumn and will officially be available in stores on 2 September. At this time of the year interest in both the store-made and homemade versions of the beverage kick into gear — particularly on social media sites.
Among the claims made in the viral graphic are that Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes do not contain any pumpkin at all, that the flavoring contains high fructose corn syrup, and that a specific ingredient — "caramel
The lack of real pumpkin in the drink comes
Also at issue is whether Pumpkin Spice Lattes contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a sweetener present in many sodas and commercial baked goods. Starbucks has indicated that HFCS may be present in some drinks due to manufacturing variations. According to a Starbucks spokeswoman, Pumpkin Spice Latte drinks purchased at Starbucks outlets are sweetened with sugar, not HFCS. The flavoring syrup available for purchase in homemade beverages may contain HFCS, but that formula differs from the one used in Starbucks retail outlets.
Another aspect of the rumor that Pumpkin Spice Lattes are toxic stems from the inclusion of Caramel Color
Due to the variety of sizes, milk options, and other customizations offered at Starbucks, a standard nutritional profile for the Pumpkin Spice Latte is not available. However, the Starbucks site allows consumers to select their preferred options to see complete nutritional information for that and all other menu offerings.
Last updated: 26 August 2014