If you ever wonder about all the things they don’t tell you about on those nutritional information stickers, well… here is a list of “5 Horrifying Food Additives You’ve Probably Eaten Today.”
Carmine can also be identified on food labels as Crimson Lake, Cochineal, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470 or E120. We mention that because we’re guessing you’ll want to check for it in the future after reading this.
Oh, and that thing we said about how we’d stop mentioning that you eat bugs? We totally lied. If you’re eating something red right now, or if you have recently, have a gander at the label.
There is a strong chance it was made with carmine. And what’s that? Are you sitting down?
Carmine is made, literally, from ground-up cochineal insects, which is just a more harrowing way of saying mashed red beetles. Because you’re dying to know more, the insects are killed by exposure to heat or immersion in hot water and then dried. Because the abdomen region that houses the fertilized eggs contains the most carmine, it is separated from the rest of the body, ground into a powder and cooked at high temperatures to extract the maximum amount of color.
To me the real problem here is not that we’re eating insects and whatnot, it’s the fact that these things are kept under wraps using code-words like “natural flavors.” Just more lies at your local grocery store.