Wednesday, April 1, 2009

bugs for breakfast

I love me some Yoplait Creamy Strawberry Yogurt. Love it. I eat it plain. I eat it with granola on top. I mix berries in with it and eat it that way. I'll eat it for a snack.

So imagine my dismay a couple of weeks ago when I found out that strawberry Yoplait has crushed-up bits of beetle bellies in it! Legally! It's even on the ingredient list! SO disgusting.

I kid you not.

If you have some pink flavored Yoplait, go look right now at the ingredients. See if it indeed says "CARMINE" in those ingredients.

Carmine, my friends, is a "natural ingredient" made from ground-up, boiled, cooked-down female beetle abdomens and the eggs they contain. It's used for creating an intense red color in: "meat products (such as sausages and baloney), jams, preserves, fruit syrups, dairy products (such as yogurts, ice creams and shakes) and even in candies and bubble gum. In the drink industry, carmine is used in fruit drinks and in certain alcoholic aperitifs such as sweet vermouth and Campari...It is even used in pet foods."

You can read it here. It's even in your Good n Plenty candy and your Tropicana pink grapefruit juice.

Here's how much I love my Yoplait yogurt. Even after I learned all of this, I was still determined to HAVE IT FOR BREAKFAST ANYWAY!

I gotta tell ya, it did not taste the same. I really wanted it to. I tried to convince myself it was the same yummy, smooth, creamy Yoplait I've always loved. I tried, and I tried, but it just made me shiver every time I took a bite. Now that I knew, my pink yogurt just didn't look strawberry flavored anymore. It looked bug flavored!

If you're not feeling squeamish yet, here's how they do it:

"The insects are carefully brushed from the cacti...and placed into bags. The bags are taken to the production plant and there, the insects are then killed by immersion in hot water or by exposure to sunlight, steam or the heat of an oven...It takes about 70,000 insects to make one pound (454 gm) of cochineal."

"The part of the insect that contains the most carmine is the abdomen that houses the fertilized eggs of the coccineal. Once dried, a process begins whereby the abdomens and fertilized eggs are separated from the rest of the anatomical parts."

Oh, be still my heaving gut!

"These are then ground into a powder and cooked at [high] extract the maximum amount of color. This cooked solution is filtered and through special processes that cause all carmine particles to precipitate to the bottom of the cooking container. The liquid is removed and the bottom of the container is left with pure carmine."

Apparently it's been legal all this time, but just recently manufacturers had to start listing it in the ingredients, because some people who are allergic to it could go into anaphylactic shock and DIE. But not enough people must die from it, because they can still put it in our food!!

Oh, and food manufacturers don't have to list it as crushed bugs or red beetle abdomens. They get to slide by with the innocuous "carmine" or even, "cochineal extract".

Look for it in your favorite foods!


Gail said...

tates alright to me. you are just squeemish :P

Becky K. said...

Ewwwwww....Good grief!

I'll be looking for carmine from now on.

Carolyn said...

Ick. I'm thinking something are better off not known. I kept waiting for you to spring "April Fools" on us. ...

Anonymous said...

Dannon All Natural Yogurt doesn't have that stuff in it.

Almost Precious said...

Well I guess bugs are protein and many cultures have bug delicacies that are a part of their cuisine!
Still, it's just the thought...yeck! :)

Barb~Bella Vista said...

Yuck....double yuck. Did I say yuck??????

Sometimes it is better not to know. Ha!


Sue said...

Hi there. I found your site through the CWO blogroll. I've enjoyed my visit ;-)

I think this post though falls under the category TMI along with knowing about the dust mites in my mattress!

Ewwww!! But thanks for letting us know ;-)

karen said...

all of THAT just so our food can be dyed red? are you kidding? please please don't research green food coloring sources. really. some things are better left unsaid. :p