Why you may have been eating bugs without realising it | Sunday Observer

Why you may have been eating bugs without realising it

If you are horrified by the thought of eating insects, the bad news is that you have probably done so many, many times. This is because one of the most widely used red food colourings – carmine – is made from crushed up bugs.

The insects used to make carmine are called cochineal, and are native to Latin America where they live on cacti. Now farmed mainly in Peru, millions of the tiny insects are harvested every year to produce the colouring.

Carmine is added to everything from yoghurts and ice creams, to fruit pies, soft drinks, cupcakes and donuts.

It is also used extensively in the cosmetics industry and is found in many lipsticks. Peru leads the way in production of carmine. The country has a 95% share of the international market. This creates work for no less than 32,600 farmers.

-International

 

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