By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The United Nations thinks that one way to solve worldwide hunger is to put more insects into your diet. Apparently Dannon thinks so too. In what was one of the grossest disclosures in food labeling, Dannon disclosed that the ingredient that colors its fruit at the bottom of yogurt is carmine. Nope. Not Carmine Ragusa – although Ragu spaghetti sauce would also, by law, be allowed to use it. This carmine is a red dye made from insects.
Say it ain’t so, Laverne.
How can insects be allowed into the food we eat? The answer is, because they are.
The Food and Drug Administration has several divisions designed to test and strictly regulate the safety of food products and food additives, and requires food manufacturers to list all ingredients in the food and drinks you ingest. The FDA has specific guidance for the use and labeling of carmine which, though safe, 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.
But, what the brouhaha over bugs in the yogurt highlights is that just because an ingredient is listed on a label doesn’t mean that people who read it really understand that carmine means ground up insects. So, if you don’t recognize an ingredient on a label, ask before eating.