Beetle Juice Anyone?
Cochineal extract is a food coloring derived from female cochineal beetles, which are raised in Peru, the Canary islands and central America. Cochineal extract has been used as a dye for centuries, dating back to the Aztec empire. Cochineal extract provides a pink, red, or purple color to foods like ice cream, yogurt, and fruit drinks. Cochineal beetles are boiled alive, dried, pulverized, and then mixed into your yogurt. Cochineal extract is also used in cosmetics. As an animal product, it is considered a natural additive and therefore, is subject to less stringent labeling regulations than synthetic food dyes. Cochineal extract is also called carminic acid, cochineal, carminic acid and carmines to fool the public when they really should be writing “beetle juice” on the label.