Thursday, June 4, 2009

Food disclosure - Beetlejuice?

In January of this year, the FDA declared that any manufacturer that uses the food coloring referred to as cochineal extract and carmine, must disclose it on their label. It's almost impossible for me to believe what I am reading when I look up the definition.

By definition: A red dye made of the dried and pulverized bodies of female cochineal insects.

This article shows that the FDA has known about this problem since 1998. The problem surprisingly doesn't bother as much from a vegan perspective. Yes, bugs are animals but let's be reasonable, insects are around our fruits, vegetables, and soil. I can even be cool with the fact that we probably unknowingly consume a couple insects per year. It seems like a risk you have to accept when you eat natural foods.

What is shocking to me is how manufacturers can be allowed to put insects into food on purpose and it is only because people are allergic to these insects that this became a valid reason for disclosure.

I'm not sure what took the FDA eleven years to pass this ruling, but my guess is that manufacturers weren't super excited to put "made from bugs" on their labels. Manufacturers who use this type of food coloring have until January of 2011 to become compliant on this ruling.


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