How About Some Ground-Up Bugs In Your Coffee

WSJ BLOG/Health: Don’t Like the Idea of Ground-Up Bugs? Better Read the Label
Published April 20, 2012
Dow Jones Newswires
News that Starbucks will stop using an ingredient made from ground-up bugs in its drinks may have prompted some consumers to ask: Say what now?
The ingredient in question really is made from insects. It’s a government-approved food coloring derived from the bodies of cochineal insects. It’s commonly used in many products from yogurt to cakes, as WSJ reported. Here’s what the FDA has to say about cochineal extract and carmine, a related coloring made from the bugs.
Starbucks’s use of the red extract in its strawberry frappucinos and other products started gaining attention last month as vegan consumers — who eschew all animal products — objected. A blog post on This Dish Is Veg alerted readers to the ingredient.
The company now says it will transition from the cochineal extract to a tomato-based product by the end of June.
Still, cochineal and carmine are found in a wide range of products, so if you’re concerned about insect-based ingredients, read the label. The FDA says the ingredients may be safely used as colorants, but guidelines say that cochineal extract or carmine should be declared on the label of all food products intended for human use, including butter, cheese, and ice cream.

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