With the recent article about cochineal extract being present in Starbuck’s strawberry frapprucino mix one has to ask why. Why drink anything artificial first of all. Why drink anything with cochineal extract secondly.
Sure cochineal extract is natural… ; cochineal is a bug that is known for its red coloring.
” Cochineal is a dye made from dried and ground female bodies of the scale insect Dactylopius coccus costa (Coccus cacti L.). Powdered cochineal is dark purplish red. The chief coloring principle in cochineal is carminic acid, a hydroxyanthraquinone linked to a glucose unit. Cochineal contains approximately 10 percent carminic acid; the remainder consists of insect body fragments.” FDA
That’s right – a bug. While I understand that a lot of food contains traces of insects , why would one deliberately choose to drink a substance that admits to using a bug – simply for colour? These bugs are used in drinks and lipsticks. Yes, you heard me right. Lipsticks. See the word carmine?
Canthaxanthin is also used, also not always vegan – it’s an animal product found in shrimp, flamingos as well as created in the lab.
In 2010 the The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau proposed to revise its regulations to require the disclosure of the presence of cochineal extract and carmine on the labels of any alcohol beverage product containing one or both of these color additives – following in the FDA footsteps. This move was due to many severe allergic reactions from people unknowingly drinking these two additives. The makeup industry was also required to add this info to their labels.
There are 9 synthetically ( human made ) certified colours. A colour additive is any pigment , dye or substance that is added to food, cosmetics or drugs. Generally colours are added to make something look more pleasing.. fresh … desirable.
Certified colours are divided into two groups – dyes and lakes.
Dyes are water soluble and are found in powders, granular form. Dyes are often used in drinks, mixes,pet food, baking mixes and dairy products as well as other products.
Lakes are the water insoluble colours and they are found in your fats, oils, hard candy, gum, donuts, etc.
While the natural dyes ( animal , plant , mineral ) were exempt from certification ; this did not mean that they were necessarily safe ( as shown by reactions in workers in the cochineal production lines as well as others ). Hence the update. However, the natural additives are generally more expensive and added unwanted flavor to the product at times – so artificial colours and flavors are often used.
Many people have allergic reactions to Yellow #5.
This is the certified list from about.com
|FD&C Blue No. 1
Brilliant Blue FCF
|Bright blue||Beverages, dairy products, dessert powders, jellies, confections, condiments, icings, syrups, extracts|
|FD&C Blue No. 2
|Royal blue||Baked goods, cereals, snack foods, ice cream, confections, cherries|
|FD&C Green No. 3
Fast Green FCF
|Sea green||Beverages, puddings, ice cream, sherbet, cherries, confections, baked goods, dairy products|
|FD&C Red No. 40
Allura Red AC
|Orange-red||Gelatins, puddings, dairy products, confections, beverages, condiments|
|FD&C Red No. 3
|Cherry red||Cherries in fruit cocktail and in canned fruits for salads, confections, baked goods, dairy products, snack foods|
|FD&C Yellow No. 5
|Lemon yellow||Custards, beverages, ice cream, confections, preserves, cereals|
|Cereals, baked goods, snack foods, ice cream, beverages, dessert powders, confections