Would you eat strawberry yogurt that contained pulverized beetle body parts? Would you consider purchasing a box of Kellogg’s Pop Tarts that contain ground up beetles? Probably not. Food manufacturers are aware this might be a turn off, so they cleverly disguise this very thing by calling it carmine. Take a look at your ingredient list, for foods that are naturally colored red, they may contain carmine. Carmine is made from the cochineal beetle. The process for making dye from the beetles starts with thousands of cochineal beetles that are collected and dried. After drying, the abdomen and fertilized eggs of the insects are separated from the rest of the body. The abdomen and fertilized eggs contain the most red color of the beetle. The abdomen and fertilized eggs are then ground into powder and cooked at a high temperature. The final product contains the settlement of the beetles at the bottom and a red clear liquid. The liquid is used as natural food coloring.
Now for a look at the ingredients of the Yoplait Yogurt box…
Carmine is listed twice. Once in the strawberry flavor, and again in the banana strawberry flavor. Yoplait and Pop Tarts are not the only food sources for carmine. Carmine is frequently found in ice cream, yogurt, juice drinks, and other foods. Food manufacturers are already aware that people are becoming aware of what carmine is. So they have come up with other clever labels for the same product such as, Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, Cochineal, and E120. Many people think that yogurt is a healthy source of vegetarian protein, but when carmine is added as food coloring, it is no longer vegetarian.
Here is a picture of the Kellogg’s Wild Strawberry Pop-tarts ingredients…. I guess they consider it “wild” because the beetles they used to make it are found in the wild ?
What You Can Do To Make A Difference:
- Take charge and know what’s in your food by reading ingredient lists and don’t purchase products that contain carmine.
- Contact food manufactures and ask them not to use carmine to color foods(there are plant options that can be used for coloring.)
- Let others know about the use of carmine in foods.
Natural flavoring can be just as gross. You can read my previous post here on natural flavoring.
Sources: Natural News and Center for Science in the Public Interest.