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.
CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson commented:
"I have nothing against people who eat insects, but when I buy strawberry yogurt I’m expecting yogurt and strawberries, and not red dye made from bugs. Given the fact that it causes allergic reactions in some people, and that it’s easy to use safer, plant-based colors, why would Dannon use it at all? Why risk offending vegetarians and grossing out your other customers?"
CSPI says that the strawberry, cherry, boysenberry, and raspberry flavors of Dannon’s "Fruit on the Bottom" line of yogurt all contain carmine. Several flavors of Dannon’s Light and Fit Greed product and six of its Activa yogurts also use this extract. The strawberry flavor of Dannon’s Oikos brand of Greek yogurt uses the extract as well. Fortunately, the company uses natural colors in its Danimals line of yogurts geared towards children.
CSPI is encouraging Dannon to stop using insect-based dye.
Source: July 26, 2013 by Julie Kent