Just about every kid raised in the US in the last thirty years has eaten these
. And yet, just look at what's in the list of ingredients: Carmine. Carmine
is a pigment produced by cochineal insects, which are ground up and purified to produce the pigment. A less purified form of the pigment, called cochineal extract, is also sometimes found in foods.
Carmine, also called carminic acid, is a powerful red pigment that is found in a wide assortment of places where crushed insects (presumably) do not belong: Yoplait strawberry yogurt, Tropicana grapefruit juice, Campari
, maraschino cherries, and it might make you question just why pink lemonade needs to be pink.
Because carmine is a "natural" (not synthetic) additive, government regulations on its labeling are lax, which is quite surprising since some people may suffer severe anaphylactic shock
upon eating these or other insects. Not all products containing carmine label it at all, some merely say "added color," "natural color" or (also surprisingly) "artificial color."