Vegans Protest Starbucks' Sale Of Dairy-Laden Pumpkin Lattes

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Photo by Gen Wilburn on Flickr

Apparently we aren't the only ones pissed about the arrival of the pumpkin latte. Vegans around the country are currently petitioning Starbucks because the seasonal drink, which has gained a cult-like following since its introduction in 2003, actually contains dairy. And there's no real indicator of that fact when purchasing the drink.

Says the Change.org petition:

Many people are shocked to hear that the mix contains condensed milk because there's no way anyone would be able to tell walking into a store and placing an order. Employees don't even realize it has milk in it!

The drinks are also topped with a more-obvoius dallop of sweetened whipped cream. The standard drink is also made with steamed milk, which could deceive meat-free eaters into thinking that if they swap out the milk for soy or almond, they're keeping vegan.

Starbucks says that vegans can order the Starbucks Via instant spiced latte, which doesn't contain any dairy, instead. But the 1,500 supporters want more, which might be hard to deliver on considering the texture and consistency of condensed milk.

All of this steamy controversy raised an interesting question for the folks over at The Consumerist. What other products does the coffee shop carry that vegans might not realize contain dairy?

Starbucks' response:

“Several other flavored sauces served in some of our drinks also contain dairy, including white chocolate and caramel,” the spokesman explained. If customers are in doubt, the best thing to do is ask a barista for a list of ingredients, he added.

Which goes back to the initial complaint that not all baristas know exactly what every single drink contains, meaning it's more important than ever to be a well-educated consumer.