So I bought some Greek yogurt yesterday because, why not? Then this morning I asked Mike if he wanted one and he said “I don’t want bugs for breakfast” when I asked him why, he said that Yogurt companies add bugs to add color to yogurt. So I decided to look it up.
It turns out that most yogurt, juice and cosmetic companies use beetle extract to add food coloring to food/cosmetics with red, pink or purple coloring because of its vibrant red pigment.
They dry out the bugs (see pic below) called Cochineals which look like beetles when they are alive.
and turn it into a powder like this:
And that’s what they add to your food/cosmetics/juices to add that nice pink/purple/red coloring
It turns out that Starbucks used to use this pigment in their Strawberry flavored smoothies or anything that contained red/pink coloring, but they stopped because apparently it was causing allergies on some customers.
The FDA has found this dye safe for consumption and only a few allergic reactions have been reported in the US.
The primary products where you’ll find Carmine are Cosmetics (lipsticks, eye shadows, etc.), Juices and Yogurt with a red, pink or purple coloring. Truth is we have been eating these little bugs for years.
Personally, it is a bit gross at first glance but if you really think about it, it’s not like you are eating the bug whole. And even if, isn’t that what we used to eat back in the day before we became smart enough to make processed food? As long as I don’t find antennas or little feet in my food I am all good.
If you want to avoid foods with this dye, check out the ingredient list. It’s usually listed as Carmine, Crimson Lake, Cochineal Natural Red, CI75470 or E120.
Not trying to weird you out but I think its only fair you know what you are eating…