A paper Starbucks cup in front of a Starbucks store.
The Controversial Ingredients In Starbucks' Earliest Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte has been a hit since its release in 2003, but today's fans might not know about the controversy that surrounded the drink soon after its debut.
Starbucks PSL inventor Peter Dukes and his team developed a sauce for the drink that contained its signature spice flavor, but also caramel color class IV and carrageenan.
Caramel color class IV has been linked to lung cancer and leukemia in mice and has been noted as a potential cancer-causing agent for humans, according to a study by PLOS One.
Carrageenan, meanwhile, has been linked to gut problems. The original PSL also didn't contain any pumpkin, another point of contention that fans were not happy to discover.
It wasn’t until 2015 that the drink was reformulated, which involved replacing the caramel coloring with vanilla syrup and adding "some" pumpkin puree, as Starbucks stated.
If you're still squeamish about artificial ingredients, Starbucks offers a recipe for its pumpkin spice syrup that you can make at home, no controversial additions required.