When Red is Dead
Finally, we have an answer: Crushed beetles.
The weird truth is supplied by The Wall Street Journal, which reveals the crushed bugs in question to be female cochineal beetles, whose bodies are dried, ground, and heated until a “colored powder” is filtered out.
According to the WSJ, it takes 70,000 beetles to make one pound of marketable color. (Among the other products using the color: Dannon Boysenberry yogurt and Yoplait Strawberry yogurt.) Thanks to an FDA loophole, food companies are allowed to identify the crushed bug product as merely “added color” or, weirder, “artificial color.”
Whatever they call it, it has vegetarians and observant Jews crying foul, and a Washington public-health advocacy group is pushing for stricter labelling guidelines. As Rabbi Moshe Elefant, chief operating officer of the kosher division of the Orthodox Union, told the WSJ, “There are a lot of people who will not be happy to know that they are eating products that contain dried beetle.”
Full story here.
Speaking of crushed bugs: Yesterday suspended South Seattle gynocologist/convicted rapist Dr. Charles Momah was sentenced to 20 years in prison.