If there's one thing that consumers expect and hope not to find in their food, it's bugs. International yogurt manufacturer Dannon, however, has recently come under fire for including bugs in its yogurt products. Specifically, Dannon has been called out for its use of bug-based dyes in its yogurt products.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit food watchdog group, Dannon uses an ingredient known as carmine to give some of its fruit-flavored yogurt products a pink color. Carmine is a bright red dye which is derived from the aluminum salt of carminic acid, which naturally occurs in the scales of cochineal insects.
40,000 cochineal bugs are needed to produce just one pound of cochineal extract for the carminic acid. In order to obtain this substance, the insects' bodies are dried and then boiled in water.
The CSPI contends that Dannon's use of carmine is tricking consumers, who believe that fruits are providing the color in their yogurt. They also point out numerous studies which have found that insect-based dye can put some people at risk for allergic reactions and even anaphylactic shock.