The nutrition activist group, Center for Science in the Public Interest blasted Dannon yogurt this week for having food coloring containing bug extracts and urged the company to put “berries over bugs.”
This is not the first time a food manufacturer has been critcized for using carmine, a red color additive made from the crushed bodies of cochineal beetles. Starbucks was criticized by vegetarian groups last year after revealing that some of its fruit smoothies contained carmine and quickly decided to remove the additive from its products.
Dannon is being urged to follow suit and stop using carmine, now found in its “Fruit on the Bottom” varieties, Strawberry flavor Oikos Greek yogurt, and in six of its Activia yogurts.
“Given the fact that it causes allergic reactions in some people, and that’s it easy to use safer, plant-based colors, why would Dannon use it at all?” said CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson. “Why risk offending vegetarians and grossing out your other customers?” The extract is also on the list of banned food additives for those who keep kosher.
Whether Dannon follows Starbucks’ lead remains to be seen. “Any of our products that contain carmine clearly list it as an ingredient,” Dannon’s senior director of public relations, Michael Neuwirth, told The Huffington Post. “Anyone who wishes to avoid it can.”
Deborah Kotz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.