Color Additives


Cochineal-Color-Additive Alixe T TaylerOne of the most widely used color additives comes from an unexpected source. Cochineal extract (also known as carmine or carminic acid) is made from the dead bodies of small bugs harvested mainly in Peru and the Canary Islands. The female Dactylopius coccus costa likes to feed on cactus pads and color from the cactus gathers in her body and her eggs. The little bugs are collected, dried, and ground into a coloring additive. It takes about 70,000 of the insects to make a pound of carmine, which is used to make processed foods look pink, red, or purple. Dannon strawberry yogurt gets its color from carmine, as do many candies, frozen fruit bars, fruit fillings and Ocean Spray pink grapefruit juice drink.

“Chew On This” by Eric Schlosser & Charles Wilson pg.121-122