Yogurt's 'Secret Ingredient' Revealed & We've Just Lost Our Appetite

Ewww! 27

yogurtThere are bugs in your yogurt. But you knew that already, right? The Center for Science in the Public Interest is razzing yogurt company Dannon for using carmine, a dye made from crushed cochineal bugs, in some of its yogurt. Apparently that's what gives some of the berry-flavored yogurts their pretty pink color. But what's the big deal? It's not like the bugs are dumped directly into the yogurt whole.

CSPI executive director Michael Jacobsen says the bug-derived dye can cause allergic reactions for some people. Plus, there are plant-based colors they can use -- like the carrot juice dye they use for kids' Danimals yogurts. "Why risk offending vegetarians and grossing out your other customers?" Jacobsen asks.

Oh yeah -- I guess carmine makes yogurt not exactly safe for vegetarians. I think most of us are over the gross-out factor, though, aren't we? That's what I keep hearing.

More from The Stir: Common Kitchen Spice Recalled for Salmonella: What You Need to Know

Anyway, I don't see why our yogurt has to be so bright pink. (You know what's so funny? I'm listening to the song "Pretty in Pink" as I write this, just a random accident. OK, back to the post.) I mean, I kind of know: Because apparently pink sells. But seriously, suppose we got rid of that food dye. You'd still eat strawberry yogurt, wouldn't you? And it would taste the same. It's funny that there's so much fuss over something that's not essential to yogurt. It's not even a flavor. 

Well, you know the deal. If this bothers enough people, yogurt companies will stop using carmine. They did it for kids' yogurt, after all. But maybe we're okay with it. Maybe most yogurt eaters just don't care. 

Do you ever think about cochineal bugs when you're eating pink-colored yogurt?


Image via Diego/Flickr

food safety, in the news, vegetarian


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fleur... fleurdelys3110

Starbucks also used to use these same bugs in their strawberry and cream frapps. There was an uproar about this time last year that caused them to change it

nonmember avatar Michelle

Why don't people worry about things in their food that ACTUALLY matter--HFCS, hydrogented fats--but ground up bugs? The next time a stir writer writes a lame article like this, I will be compelled to send them all back to college and maybe the FDA and USDA to learn just how many bugs ARE in your food...and I'm not talking for color.

Shannon Elysabeth Mundorff

Um, traditional yougurt isn't a vegetarian food in the first place..... it's made with MILK... Unless you are buying expensive special made vegan yogurts, it's a dairy product.

BeccaLS BeccaLS

Carmine is used in a lot of things.

It's also used as a pigment in eyeshadow, lipstick, nailpolish, and other beauty products. It's natural and healthier than artificial coloring.

Yes, it's made from beetles, but I don't really see the problem.

SaphireH SaphireH

Ooo big deal, no i dont care whats in my food at all


Wait?!?  Huh?!?  I didn't even know.

This gives me a whole new eval on the word Beetlejuice throwing up

nonmember avatar Nikki

At least its natural! Oh well!

nonmember avatar ADM

Well, what about the Kosher aspect? Bugs aren't Kosher, so individuals trying to eat Kosher may be repulsed. Their products have a kashrus on them. They also offer Kosher for Passover, possibly also with carmine. The problem here lies in the fact that some Kosher certification groups say carmine is absolutely not Kosher while others say that if they are old bugs, they might be. Personally, I look for bug dyes in things because frankly, marked Kosher or not marked Kosher, that's not Kosher!

nonmember avatar Mandy

Would rather eat bugs than one of the many man made chemicals. But I do agree, food coloring is a stupid practice when its safety is questionable.

lulou lulou

That is why I made yogurt out of breastmilk.

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