Bugs are nothing - you want to really be grossed out? Google "castoreum". It's a natural flavor commonly used in place of raspberries and strawberries and vanilla, but it does not come from a plant source (I'll let you decide if you do want to know where it comes from). It is legitimately natural, and as such can be labeled "natural flavors".
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I think they should have to say "carmine" and not just "natural coloring" for the sake of vegans, etc. But I think it's up to the consumer to know (or look up) what carmine actually is.
As for allergies, fewer people are allergic to carmine than to other natural colorings like beet juice, etc. It has been used for at least a thousand years, and there's no sign that the Aztecs and Inca ever had any trouble with it.
So, yeah. It's a question of personal responsibility, as far as I'm concerned. Maybe I'd be more creeped out if I hadn't already known what carmine is, or if I didn't live where the little bugs are all over the place. I've probably ingested more cochineal parts by getting hit in the face with them when I'm riding my bike or by eating cactus than from all the strawberry yogurt I could eat in a lifetime.
And call me shallow, but if I buy something fruit-flavored, I don't want it to be brown. Most vegetable/fruit colors turn brown when exposed to Vitamin C, and cochineal counteracts that. I'd rather eat something with a few parts per billion of bug shell than something that looks rotten.
From what I've read on the subject, the bigger issue with the coloring coming from bugs, had to do with vegetarians who objected to the use of bugs not because of the "ick" factor but because a living creature was destroyed to make the coloring.
The coloring coming from bugs doesn't bother me at all. It may surprize you to realize that the government has set standards for the amount of bugs, rodent hairs, droppings, fly eggs etc allowed in certain foods. It makes sense if you think about it; without standards, who knows how well any particular factory would control the insect and rodent population. And if you're dealing with large quantities of food, there will be insects and rodents. It would be impossible to eliminate every little bit of possible contamination.
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It really doesn't bother me one iota! As a child I remember licking a small bucket full of snail slobber, then pulling some of the snails out of their shells and eating them. My sister ate worms. My grandson at half a preying mantis. I was about 10 when I ate a bacon and egg pie - I had gotten half way through and noticed movement. On closer inspection I found it riddled with maggots - I finished the bacon and egg pie because I had already eaten the first half without harm (I always claimed that is what made me grow to be a 'big and healthy' girl :-) During the 2nd World War my father was in Egypt. He said they often used to go crook at the cook for very lumpy cocoa. Then they discovered one day it was actually flies in the cocoa. I NZ Maori used to eat hu hu grubs - in Australia the Aboriginals ate witchetty grubs. Other countries eat deep fried grasshoppers or crickets. I don't see any difference.
The bugs aren't toxic. Sure, people have allergies. If you search hard enough, you can find someone who's allergic to whatever substance you are looking for an allergy to...
Just to play devil's advocate... Lots of people around here are always talking about how natural foods are what we should all be eating and these people say that we should avoid "chemicals." This is a natural product, so I think it should make people who want to eat natural foods happy that a natural extract is being used in their food rather than some artificial dye.
Unless, of course, what people really object to is the ick factor. But, like a previous poster said...you eat way, way more bugs in your other food than you realize. Unless you're going to stop eating food, you are eating bugs. So, what's a little bug extract for coloring?
I'm not sure just how the fact that it's made from bugs has anything to do with whether you'll be allergic to it or not. They put on the label that there is "carmine" in the ingredients, so if you have tested positive as being allergic to it, then you can avoid it. The origin is really irrelevant.
I also am allergic to many things: some plant, some animal, some chemical --- so I just worry about whether the labels indicate whether a product contains one of those things. There are also many things in the world that I'm not allergic to, but other people are. Just because something causes an allergic reaction in *some* people (I would think there are very few things in the world that don't), does not in any way indicate that I'll have a similar reaction.
it's a huge industry in parts of mexico. it's a very very tiny little insect that lives on certain types of cactus plants. it is used to make fabric dyes as well as food colouring. I stayed in a little hotel that had a cactus garden, it had these white fluffy patches on it, i remember poking at one and accidentally smushing one of the little cochineals, wow instantly purple thumb, it's pretty incredible really.
I can think of lots worse things that could be in my food. "Insect" has an ick-factor but... at least they're from nature and non-toxic/non-carcinogenic.
Fox News and CBS reported Carmine, which is a red food coloring made from beetles has been used as a coloring agent in many foods from yogurt, ice cream, juices, candies, strawberry milk, waffles, Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccinos dyed with crushed up cochineal bugs, and some other foods. Who wants to eat this stuff?
The color of the yogurt does not come from the fruit that it is supposed to taste like but rather, from carmine.
Dannon makes fruit-on-the-bottom, greek-style and that green-packaged Activia everyone is familiar with. The full bug scoop has come in the following flavors and styles:
Fruit on the Bottom” yogurts in strawberry, cherry, boysenberry, and raspberry, the strawberry flavor Oikos brand Greek yogurt in strawberry, pomegranate berry “Light and Fit” yogurt, blueberry “Light and Fit Greek” yogurt, and various Activia
So what is the big deal about beetles smashed in your yogurt cup? ”The smashed bug bodies are part of a chemical called carmine, which can trigger moderate to severe allergic reactions in ‘a small percentage’ of consumers.” Dannon doesn’t deny using carmine and says a lot of other common foods list this ingredient as well, such as certain ice creams, candies and beverages. It’s not just smashed up bugs, they say, it’s an extract of the beetle and it takes somewhere around “40,000 of the little bugs to produce one pound of cochineal extract.” Maybe we can just chalk it up to more protein in our yogurt and let it fly.
I SAY EWWWW!
They said "What you think is fruit is actually dye made from bugs"
The Center for Science in the Public Interest wants labeling to let people know the coloring is from an insect, and I agree...who wants to be eating bugs or any type of derivative from bugs especially when some people have had allergic reactions, labored breathing if asthmatic, etc....thankgoodness I buy plain 0% Fage Yogurt and add my own fresh berries to sweeten the yogurt...at least I know what I am getting.
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