Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Got waffles, lipstick, yogurt, or strawberry milk? How about candy, shampoo and nail polish?
The FDA says scattered allergic reactions are the basis for the rule concerning dye derived from the crushed cochineal bug.
Unknown and unnoticed by most consumers, the juice of a tiny beetle first used by 16th century Spanish explorers is responsible for red, pink, orange, and purple coloring in hundreds of U.S. products.
Now, the Food and Drug Administration has decided to make food and cosmetic manufacturers identify the buggy source of carmine or cochineal extract, which may be identified only as “color added” in a product’s list of ingredients.
There is no way to tell how many products contain the dyes, said Mike Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington: “It can be anything red.”
Or other colors: Cochineal is bright orange, while its more purified form, known as carmine, is vivid red. They also may be found in purple or pink coloring.
Some manufacturers have begun voluntarily listing carmine as an ingredient on packaging. A check of supermarket shelves found both Dannon and Yoplait strawberry yogurts stating “colored with carmine” on their labels. And cosmetics manufacturer Aveda markets lipsticks free of “bright magenta red pigment extracted from the boiled, dried, or crushed shells, wings and eggs of the female beetle Coccus cacti.”
So, here’s the question for the day: Does the use of bug juices bother any of you?
Had you rather know or would you just rather eat away and not think about it?
Comment as you dare.