What does natural color on your food product ingredient label indicate? Did you know that there are Cochineal insects products and foods made with crushed bugs? According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately 40,000 cochineal bugs are needed to produce one pound of cochineal extract for carminic acid. However, if you are truly concerned about eating or using products containing cochineal, you will have to read the fine print on a lot of products. We never found out what it was, but it took months to clear it up. Download a free copy of our newsletter and see the details inside! All text and design is copyright ©2020 Koala Guide LLC. From females and eggs of these insects, a pigment called carmine is extracted, which gives Coca-Cola its famous brown color. Cochineal bugs are covered with a waxy or powdery white coating, and often cluster on the surface of the prickly pear pads, looking like tiny cotton balls stuck to the plant. What are the popular food items containing bugs? I have been having severe allergic reactions over the years and finally took in an ingredient list of a bite size cupcake (ironically red velvet, a cheesecake factory product) to an allergist. New Data from the Butterfly Center Gives Us Some Answers, Bell Peppers, Bananas and Beer: The Cockrell Butterfly Center’s Grocery List, Mimics Among Us! Cochineal Insects Products: 7 Foods Made With Crushed Bugs, 11 Weird but Successful Business Ideas that Somehow Make Money. At the liquor store the other day I noticed a bottle of shocking pink tequila, called “Pasión.” It would make a great Valentine’s Day gift (“Candy’s dandy, but liquor’s quicker,” as the saying goes) and is certainly eye-catching. Other than being featured in ‘Fear Factor’, I don’t see how a person would be willing to eat bugs, though their consumption is indeed more common in some parts of the world. I’M STILL GANNA EAT EVERYTHING CUZ ITS… YOU KNOW WHAT, DO NOT REPRODUCE After the scratch test of over 80 things and some bloodwork carmine is the only thing I am allergic to (other than some environmental things like cats and pollens). And don’t forget the sweets, there’s cranberry sauce to liven up your savory dishes and also pumpkin […], Special Event – Tasty Toxic Tuesday Learn about things in nature that are potentially deadly but have been prized and eaten by humans for thousands of years. In January 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluated a proposal that would require food products containing carmine to list it by name on the ingredient label. The Spaniards took cochineal back to Spain, and during colonial times, cochineal was Mexico’s second-most valuable export after silver. I agree that artificial colors also suck, but those aren’t the only options. Cochineal extract or carmine must be declared on the label of all food products intended for human use, including butter, cheese, and ice cream, when present in the food (21 CFR 73.100 (d)(2)). I encourage you to visit the exhibit on this theme in our entomology hall, where you can also purchase some unadulterated insect treats from our vending machine. How Long do Butterflies Live? I have never seen cochineal insects in Houston, but have found them on prickly pears growing in and around Austin – so they certainly occur in Texas. Here is a short list of items that may contain cochineal-derived colorant: Frozen meat and fish (e.g., artificial crab meat) Soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and powdered drink mixes Yogurts, ice cream and dairy-based drinks At the Houston Museum of Natural Science it isn’t! Could you gulp them? This guidance document restates in plain language the legal requirements of the January 5, 2009 final rule set forth in 21 CFR parts 73 and 101 concerning the requirement for the declaration by name of the color additives cochineal extract and carmine on the label of all food and cosmetic products in the United States. Do it for the ‘Gram: A Dino’s Guide to the Death by Natural Causes #Aesthetic, Frozen meat and fish (e.g., artificial crab meat), Soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and powdered drink mixes, Yogurts, ice cream and dairy-based drinks, Candy, syrups, popsicles, fillings and chewing gum, Canned fruits including cherries and jams, Some wines and liqueurs (sadly, according to Wikipedia, as of 2006 carmine is no longer used to give the Italian aperitif Campari its distinctive deep red color), Lipstick, eyeshadow, blush, nail polish, and other cosmetic items, Pills, ointments and syrups used in the pharmaceutical industry. This multi-media presentation will […], With National Pollinator Week behind us, it may be easy to focus on other issues and forget that pollinators need our help to bounce back. For example, shellac is another natural product derived from a different scale insect. I have to roll my eyes a little (at least internally) at those people who act horrified when they learn that the red color of their energy drink, or popsicles, or other foods comes from or is enhanced by these insects. If you’d like to learn more, just do an online search for “cochineal bugs” (by the way, they have occasionally been misnamed “cochineal beetles” – but they are NOT beetles). Makes you want to stop eating anything. Learn how your comment data is processed. Other natural food colouring alternatives include extracts from berries and beetroot. Sugar Land, Texas 77479 On January 5, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final rule in the Federal Register that amended its regulations to require the declaration by name of the color additives cochineal extract and carmine on the label of all food and cosmetic products in the United States (74 FR 207). Conclusion You probably are allergic to raspberries or an insecticide used on the raspberries. Her academic training is in botany and entomology, with a specialty in the interaction between insects, especially butterflies, and plants. Is that an oxymoron? (281) 242-3055. Carmine must be declared prominently and conspicuously at least once in the labeling (21 CFR 73.2087 (c)(2)). Many companies started using these cochineal insect products and made foods with crushed bugs as they found it to be a natural substitute for artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Rockville, MD 20852. This intense color has been used to dye fabric for many centuries, and more recently, has become an important colorant in foods and drinks. Is there any substances used in food like this that I should be concerned about? In fact, outraged vegans have pressured Starbucks to look for another, non-insect-derived product to use in the frappuccino concoction (just do a web search for “cochineal and Starbucks”). Until 2009, cochineal was one of many dyes that fell under the umbrella term “natural color” on ingredients lists. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site. You can use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations. In addition to cultivating backyard butterflies, she grows vegetables and bees. I found this article through a google search because I’m seriously, deathly allergic to carmine. I get all these insects on my bodyhday make my nose run and get these bad headache.I’m not sure if it’s what you are talking about. Mostly considered plant pests, a few have economic value. Check out this YouTube video to see traditional cochineal farming in the Canary Islands. When I smash them they turned blue. My veins in my arms are dark green and real thick. This is a question for your doctor. cochineal- the enemy of resource poor farmers in Ethiopia who are dependent on cacti for fruit production and animal feed!!! However, you might not even recognize some scale species as insects. But in the late 1900s, the push to use natural products rather than chemical ones in foods have made cochineal and carmine, its purified form, increasingly important as food colorants. Weird And Unexpected Pollinators Who Help Keep Our World’s Ecosystems Going! Cochineal extract is a coloring agent which is comprised of about 90% insect-body fragments. This guidance represents the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) current thinking on this topic. The delicious little swamp bug tantalizes the taste buds of millions of Americans every year. My reactions were so random and severe I thought for sure I was going to be allergic to 100 things. So what IS a cochineal bug, exactly? WHY ARE YOU RUINING OUR DREAMS? It is a small, chubby scale insect that feeds on prickly pear cactus, with the scientific name of Dasylopius coccus. WHAT THE HECK? Be sure to check the common food culprits carefully, like candies, colored yogurts, cake mixes and juices.