Thursday, January 8, 2009

Doesn't Bug Me One Bit

I saw this on the morning news when I was getting ready for work. It was taken from this Newsday article here regarding the use of crushed beetle pigment to artificially color a range of popular food products from Ocean Spray grapefruit juice, to Yoplait and Dannon yogurts. The red pigment--made from dried, ground up beetle shells--is also used in an array of top lipsticks and other makeup products.

Apparently the cochineal beetle has been the secret ingredient in a LOT of colorful products since before the Spanish came to South America and discovered the natives cultivating the bug. It's been an important source of red coloring ever since.

Weird, huh? Check out the article to read more. Apparently the ingredient is commonly listed as "carmine" or "red dye E-120." Sometimes even as "cochineal," though few people even know that this is the name of a South American beetle. I did, but I rarely look at food ingredient labels anyway since I'm not allergic to anything. A few people are allergic to this, however, and so efforts have been underway for a decade now to try and get the FDA to have it removed, or at least provide a warning on the label.

I don't know, for some reason this doesn't bother me at all. I really could care less. So what? If you knew half the things that go into most of the other foods we eat, you'd starve to death if you'd let it get to you. Take a look at how your beef and chicken gets to the supermarket, and then come back and talk about a harmless little beetle. Let's get real.

As long as my Dannon strawberry yogurt (yum!) doesn't taste like actual bug juice, I'm happy pretending that the red I'm seeing is from the skins of fresh, ripened strawberries picked straight off the vine. :)


  1. OMG - that's just gross. Give me a good zombie movie and rotting flesh but everyone has their limit. Guess we just found mine.

  2. Oddly enough, given my complete disgust and fear of bugs, this really doesn't disturb me so much. Mostly because I'm not surprised by it. And the picture actually didn't give me the heebie-jeebies, which large pictures of large bugs usually does. Cool post. Gonna drive your female followers nuts, you are!


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