Step 1: Introduction
It seems that some people will eat just about anything. If you are of the highly omnivorous persuasion, congratulations. This story won't be any help at all, so please instead read the instructables about eating cute animals of some sort.
Let's be perfectly clear about this: this instructable is titled "How to eat fewer insects." It is meant to help you eat fewer (not zero) insects IF that is your choice. We do not make any judgements or claims about whether, when, or how many insects you should eat. Yes, lots of people like to eat insects, and lots of people don't like to eat insects. However, please keep in mind that it is not the topic under discussion here
If you're still interested, let's look at a box of candy in the next step.
Step 2: The Big Secret: Look at the Ingredients.
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."
Step 3: Another Lovely Euphemism
(Confusing the issue is that a corn protein, zein, may also be labeled as "Confectioner's glaze." While I've seen a great many companies that make and use shellac-based confectioner's glaze, I have yet to see any that use a zein base. If you know of any examples of zein-based confectioner's glaze, please leave it as a comment!)
Step 4: The Best of Both Worlds
Here's what really gets me: That little "kosher" indicator below the ingredient list. According to the Wikipedia article on kosher diets, "The consumption of insects involves five violations of Torah law, so according to Jewish Law it is a greater sin than the consumption of pork."
Really now. It doesn't take scholar on Jewish Law to determine that eating insects is worse than eating pork. Exactly what are these Hershey folks trying to pull here? (And as long as we're kicking The Hershey Company while they're down, what's with that grainy texture in Special Dark?)
Step 5: What's in Jelly Beans?
Interestingly, these are also labeled kosher. Even more interesting, they are certified by the very same folks that certified the Good & Plenty. (I see a pattern here. Look for certified kosher bacon next year!)
Step 6: What's in Other Confections?
Hopefully, you're now armed just a little bit better to protect yourself against unwittingly eating insects.
See some of our other projects at http://www.evilmadscientist.com/