Behind the Kitchen Door, 1/15/2009 - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Behind the Kitchen Door, 1/15/2009

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Ever glance at the nutrition information on your food and not understand what you're reading, or check out the ingredients and have no idea what's really in your food? KTEN's Katy Blakey has some surprising details in this week's Behind the Kitchen Door.

Ever look at the ingredient information on the back of your food? I mean really look?

Scan the yogurt container and you'll see the word, "carmine."

It's what makes your sweet treat strawberry pink.

And "carmine" is another word for "cochineal" referring to the cochineal beetle. That's right, bits of bugs go into making your yogurt an eye-appeasing color.

Yogurt, ice cream, fruit drinks, candy... even you're favorite lipstick and shampoo benefit from the bug.

Indigenous to South America, the female bugs are ground up and emit red, pink or purple coloring that is used in all sorts of products, to make them vibrant and appealing.

Unlike this container of Yoplait, most companies have avoided listing the bug by name and instead use terms like "artificial colors" or "color added."

But it's not just the elusive wording that's bugging people. Some are allergic to the beetle, cause sneezing fits, asthma - even anaphylactic shock.

So after years of advocacy groups pushing for change the FDA has announced that companies begin listing the bug's name with ingredients, so those who are allergic know what products to avoid.

But that's not satisfying everyone, some groups want the labeling to skip the term "carmine" and let consumers know the dye is coming from an insect.

Still, any change is two years away. The new rule doesn't go into affect until 2011.

For Behind the Kitchen Door, Katy Blakey, KTEN News