Termite Inspection Orange County Termite Terry Pest Control

Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, South Orange County, Long Beach Area

Are You Eating Bugs and Don’t Know It?

    Do you like strawberry yogurt? Before you enjoy your next spoonful, you might want to read the label. Many companies are using the ingredient carmine in order to produce the pink color in their products.

    Carmine is a dye which is extracted from the dried bodies of cochineal insects. This gives various products the pink color. The cochineal is a tiny, parasitic scale insect that is native to South America and Mexico. This insect lives on and feeds off of a certain type of cacti. It takes 40,000 of the little bugs to produce one pound of cochineal extract. Besides yogurt, carmine is used in candies, ice cream, beverages, drugs and cosmetics.

    The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is campaigning for yogurt companies to use berries instead of bugs for coloring purposes. The nonprofit group is concerned that yogurt manufacturers are cheating customers who might be expecting the named fruits to provide the color, and not unnamed bugs. They also allege that insect-based dyes could put some consumers at risk of serious allergic reactions.

    The Food and Drug Administration requires carmine to be listed on the label. In the past, companies were able to obscure the presence of insect extracts by labeling them as “artificial color”.

    The CSPI has urged the FDA to go further and describe carmine as “insect-derived”. This would make it easier for vegetarians, Jews who keep Kosher, or anyone else who might want to avoid eating insects.