Label Lingo

November 1997 Issue

A Vegetarian's (and Bug-Lover's) Label Guide

Bugged by artificial colors in your food? Well, here's news that may bug vegetarians even more. It seems a little-known natural food dye comes from insects. Yes, insects. Listed as "cochineal extract" on food labels, the rosy coloring comes courtesy of the dried shells of female beetles native to Central and South America. Think you've never eaten it? Think again. Cochineal—and its cousin, carmine—are fairly common ingredients in beverages, yogurt, pasta, ice cream,

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