A post by a food blogger went viral earlier this week, and conveniently, at the same time Starbucks started selling their seasonal drink – the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Friends of mine who do not even read healthy living blogs were commenting about it and asking for my thoughts. The blogger’s post was reported on by USA Today and other media outlets. It was a social media storm.
Meanwhile, Pumpkin Spice Latte-loving Starbucks customers continued to buy their drinks as usual. I usually order the drink a few times a season, although I wouldn’t consider myself to be a “fangirl” of the drink. I read the blogger’s post, the USA Today report, the social media tweets and comments. Today I’m drinking an iced Pumpkin Spice Latte – “cancer-causing ingredients” and all.
My first issue with this whole debacle is the drink is called “Pumpkin Spice Latte” not “Pumpkin Latte.” As far as I know, Starbucks never claimed to use pumpkin in the drink so to attack the company on something it never advertised is idiotic. Additionally, while I try to eat healthy, whole foods I don’t live my life in panic and fear.
- Questionable caramel ingredient in your latte? Don’t drink it.
- Charred burger on the grill? Don’t eat it.
- Inhaling exhaust from car driving by. Wait… don’t don’t breathe.
- Free shampoo in your hotel room? Don’t wash with it.
- And while we’re at it, you don’t know how that hotel water was filtered or where it came from so…. just don’t bathe.
For many people this food blogger is being heralded as a saint, an investigative reporter and an advocate for all of us. Really? She’s just a woman with no formal industry training who likes to pick apart every food and company on the planet. I came across her blog years ago. There have been several mainstream media reports about her more recently so I’ll let those reports speak for themselves.
Lastly, do I believe in transparency? Of course. If the ingredients in this Starbucks drink were not listed publicly, as claimed, then yes, I believe the company could have done better. They should list their ingredients. I do value having ingredient lists available on everything from fast food menus to labels on boxed goods. I also strongly value having calorie counts available for these same foods.
I’m not advocating corruption in the food industry. But I’m not also going to advocate to believe every word an untrained professional posts on her blog. I am advocating we all have choices. And they are OUR choices. Last time I checked we have known about the connection between smoking cigarettes and cancer for 50+ years but I still see people smoking every day.
Today my choice is to drink this latte.