Bug Juice...Kind Of

Becky
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The next time you're drinking Campari, or certain kinds of fruit juices (cranberry, grapefruit, et al.), give some props to the cochineal bug. (And not, as some urban legends attest, cockroaches.) The cochineal is a parasite that dwells mainly in cacti, and is harvested for the carminic acid it secretes. The resulting dye is then used to enhance drinks, candy, make-up, and fabric. Using cochineal for decorative purposes has been going on since the height of the Aztec Empire, and in 1991 scientists finally came up with a way to synthetically produce carminic acid...Not nearly as fun as soliciting the services of bugs that look like Nerds. But because some people are allergic to the extract, the FDA may soon require manufacturers to be straightforward about the origin of all these cheery pink hues. What do you think--would you like to be alerted to bug-based ingredients?

April 24, 2007 - 12:38pm
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