Tag Archives: Artificial Colors

Bug Colors. Are Cochineal Beetles in Your Food?

Here at FoodFacts.com, we have been fielding several inquiries on colors extracted from Cochineal Beetles over the past few weeks.

 

Most recently, this topic has been the talk of the town following a news report on the subject, which revealed that the coloring created from the Cochineal Beetles was used in a Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino drink. This has caused both vegans and non-vegans alike to criticize the coffee chain, both on the ick factor and the notion that vegans are unknowingly ingesting animal products when consuming the drink in question.

 

But the use of color from Cochineal Beetles is nothing new. The colors created from the beetles are cochineal extract and carmine, the latter of which was recently the focus of a controversial ingredient day on the FoodFacts Facebook page. The colors are extracted from the female Cochineal Beetles, which are raised in Peru, the Canary Islands, and elsewhere, and provides a red, pink or purple color to the products it is in.

 

What many people don’t realize when questioning the “bug ingredients” is that such colors could illicit a severe allergic reaction in some people. Over the past several years, doctors both in the United States and outside of the country have determined that colorings could cause allergic reactions, such as sneezing, asthma and even anaphylactic shock.

 

Both carmine and cochineal extract can be found in food items such as candies, juices, ice creams and yogurts. It can also be found in certain medicines, including cough drops. Finally, these ingredients can be found in dyed cosmetic products, such as lipstick.

 

So how does one avoid it? By reading the ingredients on the packaging and knowing what colors are derived from the beetles, you should be able to avoid the products if you need to because of an allergy, or want to because of the ick factor. Knowledge is power, after all.

 

We here at FoodFacts are wishing you the best!

Another Across The Pond Comparison -Nutri-Grain Bars

Here’s another example of artificial food dyes being used in foods in America but not in the United Kingdom. Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars…check out the comparisons in the video!

Here’s the American version and here’s the United Kingdom’s version.

We like that in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand they tell you the amount in percentages of real ingredients like strawberry.

Good thing the F.D.A. is starting to think about warning Americans about artificial colors.

Concerns over Caramel Color in Soda Causing Cancer

The Center for Science In The Public Interest is calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban the caramel color used in some sodas and foods. Soy sauces, steak sauces, dark beers, syrups and the popular Coca-Cola and Pepsi sodas may all contain this chemical color additive.

The Center for Science In The Public Interest is asking the FDA to ban Caramel IV and Caramel III, both made with ammonia. The color additive is also know as, 4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI).

The American Beverage Association stated that 4-MEI is safe and is not a human carcinogen.

Coca-Cola released the following statement:

Our beverages are completely safe. Ensuring the safety of our products and maintaining the confidence of consumers are the most important priorities for The Coca-Cola Company.

CSPI’s statement irresponsibly insinuates that the caramel used in our beverages is unsafe and maliciously raises cancer concerns among consumers. This does a disservice to the very public for which CSPI purports to serve. In fact studies show that the caramel we use does not cause cancer. Further, the caramel we use does not contain the 2-MEI alleged by CSPI.

4-MEI is found in trace amounts in a wide variety of foods and beverages, including Coca-Cola. In fact, it forms normally in the ‘browning reaction’ while cooking, even in one’s own kitchen.

These extrapolations by CSPI to human health and cancer are totally unfounded. We have a responsibility to challenge Mr. Jacobson’s statements and make the truth clear for the public.

It should be noted that often animal lab tests do not correlate directly to human testing. As of now, it seems the biggest risk for drinking soda is obesity.