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Tuesday, February 7, 2006

When Red is Dead

Posted by on February 7 at 9:21 AM

We’ve all been there, enjoying a glass of Tropicana Ruby Red grapefruit juice, or a handful of Good & Plenty, when the question arises: How did my beverage/snack get to be such a lovely shade of red?

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.

CommentsRSS icon

how did I know britney was driving around without a child seat but didnt know momah got sentenced yesterday?

Good riddance, creep.

The beetles thing is effing GROSS.

What happened to the first post from Lindy this morning?

I've known what cochineal is for years - there's been no secret about it (at least, not here in the UK). You also find it in pink marshmellows.

pink marshmallows what is your fucking problem in the uk thats disgusting

Oh, come on--like you've never eaten Easter peeps?

Now, someone go hunt down what's in modern day gelatin, will ya?

All you never wanted to know about Gelatin.

Maybe vegans are on to something.


This site has less humor and more information.

Still sick.

Funny, Napoleon. I thought of gelatin while reading the article, too, because both of those yogurt products contain gelatin. Vegetarians have been avoiding that for years. At least, this vegetarian has...

I thought they could label cochineal as natural color. It is perfectly natural after all, no artificial chemicals.

You can thank the Mexicans/Central Americans for it. They used to use the stuff for cloth dye.

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