Some yogurt companies color products with bug dye

Posted at 8:10 PM, Jul 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-26 20:10:29-04

If you've never stopped to think about how the food you eat gets its color, maybe it's time you did.

A non-profit health and consumer watchdog is raising concerns about how some yogurt companies color their products.

What gives strawberry yogurt its pink color? If you thought berries, would you ever be wrong. It's bugs!

These cochineal insects are valued for their vibrant red color when crushed.

Last year, Starbucks said it would stop using the bug dye in products like its strawberries and cream frappuccino.

And now the Center for Science in the Public Interest says Dannon should get it out of its yogurts.

A company like Dannon should be coloring its strawberry yogurt with strawberries and not some insect extract.

They say Dannon is being deceptive.

The average yogurt eater sees the redness and thinks strawberries. There's a picture of a strawberry on the label, not an insect.

And the group says dozens of consumers have complained that the bug coloring, called carmine, has caused vomiting, hives, and swelling.

In a statement, Dannon said: "Carmine is a safe, FDA approved, vivid red color that many food makers use, including Dannon in some of our products, because it delivers the best color throughout shelf life of the product."

And Dannon says if consumers want to avoid it.They can just look at the label. It'll say "carmine." It won't say "bugs."