Are You Getting Your Daily Dose of Bug Juice?

FDA finally rules to make companies label the dye found in everything from yogurt to lipstick

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Are You Getting Your Daily Dose of Bug Juice?

FDA finally rules to make companies label the dye found in everything from yogurt to lipstick

-Julie Ryan Evans

Have you ever heard of a cochineal? It’s similar to a beetle and can be found in Mexico, South America … and probably in the yogurt and candy you eat and the lipstick you wear.

Say it with me, “EWWWWWWWWWWWWW!”

That’s right, food and cosmetics companies use a dye made by crushing these bugs in an array of products that we likely ingest and wear daily without a clue. So that fruit juice you’re drinking that you thought was vegetarian, maybe not so much.

Finally, after years of use and consumer complaints of the dye causing everything from allergies to fatal reactions, the Food and Drug Administration is getting around to requiring companies to label it on their products. That doesn’t mean they have to stop using it; they just have to list the dye they make from the smashed bugs as an ingredient using the terms “carmine” or “cochineal”.

Throughout the industry, the bright-red dye, which is also used to taint pinks, oranges and purples, is known by a much more straightforward name, “BUG JUICE!

“I don’t know where the term ‘bug juice’ came from, but it’s truer than most people think,” said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Some companies already list “cochineal” in their ingredients, but let’s face it, how many consumers really know what that means? And can we find out now, before the FDA ruling goes into effect in TWO YEARS, just where this bug juice can be found now?

“Ocean Spray used to use it in its Ruby Red grapefruit juice, but has since stopped,” said Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “It’s hard to get a list of foods, but we know Dannon and Yoplait list it on their labels.”

Just one more reason to eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods … and a quite motivating one at that!

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