Few people know that the food coloring listed as cochineal extract comes from female beetles. Food activists want to spread the word.
When you dig into a strawberry Yoplait yogurt, take a moment to contemplate where the beautiful pink color comes from. Strawberries? Think again. It comes from crushed bugs. Specifically, from the female cochineal beetles and their eggs. And it's not just yogurt. The bugs are also used to give red coloring to Hershey Good & Plenty candies, Tropicana grapefruit juice, and other common foods.
For me...I'll eat it if its green, blue, yellow or any color that tastes good.
Who would figure suschi would be as popular today as it is to modern taste buds. If it's in, well...... lets line up, take a number..go figure.
From ABC News reports:
Jan. 27, 2006 — "Beetlejuice" is more than just a movie name — foodmakers regularly use crushed female cochineal beetles to dye food, particularly certain yogurts, juices and candy, The Wall Street Journal reported today.
While shocking, it's perfectly legal, the paper reports. Foodmakers don't have to list the bug-based ingredient, because beetles are part of nature. Only man-made dyes, like FD&C Red No. 40, have to be listed.
But that may change soon. The Food and Drug Administration may recommend that companies list beetle additives as "carmine" or "cochineal."
Why? Using beetles in food proves problematic for vegetarians, people who keep kosher and for those with certain food allergies.
The public health advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest has long asked the FDA to change the requirements for food labels so that they more clearly state ingredients that could conflict with people's diets or trigger allergies.
As it states on its Web site: "Cochineal extract is a coloring extracted from the eggs of the cochineal beetle, which lives on cactus plants in Peru, the Canary Islands and elsewhere. … These colorings have caused allergic reactions that range from hives to life-threatening anaphylactic shock."