Our generation has been witnessing a huge level of industrialization in the food sector. What was once eaten is now the food of the older generations.
All this evolution has brought with it a large number of sweets/candies that are definitely considered as YUMMY by everyone trying them. But, what is truly used to have these brightly colored sweets and candies? what is in that pinkish/reddish ice cream? strawberry yogurt? attractive red skittle candy?
Have you ever checked the ingredients part on your food? If yes, then you definitely must have came across an ingredient called: carmine. This ingredient has been refereed to as: carmine, natural red 4, or even cochineal extract.
What is CARMINE?
Carmine comes from the cochineal insect, also named “true bug”. Thousands of these bugs are collected from Peru or the Canary Islands and sun-dried, powdered and soaked in alcohol to produce the Carmine acid. This acid is processed further to produce the carmine, which used by several known food industries to color their food in red. Some of these food include: Skittles, Mentos, Danone “Fruit on the Bottom” yogurts with these flavors: boysenberry, cherry, strawberry, and raspberry, Danone Activia Light, Activia Harvest Picks Probiotic & Activia Fiber, Tropicana Season’s Best Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice among many others brands. Starbucks cafe used to be on the list but recently declared that all his food items are carmine free.
This food dye is considered “natural” but can lead to severe allergic reactions for some people. This dye is sometimes used in lipsticks or pills coatings. So, basically, wanting to try some of these bugs in your food is really a matter of preference!
Would you still be scared of this natural bug colorant is I told you that the ingredient Red 2 is derived from coal, and Red 40 from petroleum by products? Why don’t you weight the health risks before picking your next candy?
The truth is why would food manufacturers resort to crushing bugs to make their food appealingly red, when they can use the purple sweet potatoes which contains a pigment called anthocyanin. This pigment is fully capable of giving the color range from light pink to deep purple!