My Daughter Eats Bug-Free Yogurt!

Cynthia Dermody

Carmine As I was scanning the news wires (dangerous), I came across a bit about how red bugs from Peru are routinely used as a food coloring for popular kids' goodies like juice and yogurt.

(Insert major panic attack here.)

My daughter subsists on strawberry yogurt. And not just any strawberry yogurt. Believe me, I have tried. Only Stonyfield Farm Organic Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt. And not just any size. Believe me, I have tried. Only the Stonyfield Farm Organic Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt in the big BIG 32-ounce container.

And she will only eat it directly OUT of the container. Don't ever (EVER!) try to serve my 4-year-old daughter strawberry yogurt in a bowl like a regular kid or you will be very sorry.

Did you know that the technical name for smushed up bug carcasses is carmine or cochineal extracts? I didn't. With visions of South American insects floating through my baby's intestines the past three years, I ran to the fridge to check the ingredients. No container. (I knew there was something I forgot to do yesterday.)

So I ran to the computer and blasted off an email to Stonyfield Farm up in bucholic New Hampshire, asking them if they cook with insects. I got a reply within the hour, and this is the email:

"Thanks for checking with us about the use of carmine. We do not use this in any of our products so, yes, our products are bug free! Thanks again for contacting us."

(Insert major sigh of relief here.)

According to the FDA, carmine is safe to eat. It's an insect, not poison, after all. I'm sure kids eat bugs all the time when we're not looking. Maybe the idea of bugs in regular food doesn't even bug some mothers.

But it bugs me.

Do you freak out about all the "stuff," bugs and otherwise, that no doubt find their way into our food supply? Or is it no big deal to you?

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