The Real Food Channel

Food can kill - or heal. Info to help you choose wisely.

Bug-based food dye - harmful or not?

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Wouldn't you rather be listening to the Beetles?

In April, 2012, beverage giant Starbucks came under fire for using a red dye--carmine, made from crushed cochineal beetles--to color their strawberry flavored drinks. They have since changed to a tomato-based food coloring.

Carmine is used in a wide range of foods and cosmetics. While you may find the use of insects unappetizing, is there any question about the safety of the beetle-based dye?

As Dr. Greger says, here is some information that might make you want to stay with listening to the Beetles instead of eating them.