It’s true. The tiny, dried insects are used as pink food coloring in some yogurts, milkshakes and other food products.
In 2012, Starbucks received a lot of heat for using the insects are coloring in their Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino mix. According to Starbucks, the switch to the insects was a move away from artificial ingredients. However, the assertion did little to pacify the chain’s vegetarian customers – or the public at large.
If you’re concerned about the insect-derived food coloring, you’ll have to check the ingredients listing. Of course, you won’t see ‘insects’ or ‘bug bits’ on the list. Instead, you’ll see the ingredient labeled as cochineal, carmine or carminic acid.
It’s worth noting that the ingredient is considered safe by the FDA. Also, keep in mind that the visceral reaction or “ewww!” factor that many of us experience when it comes to eating insects is really a product of our culture. In much of the world, insects are widely consumed for their nutritional properties and flavors.
So there may be bugs in your yogurt. But is that necessarily a bad thing?