Sunday, January 11, 2009

NEWS FLASH: Where do you get your red?

(Photo from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, University of South Florida.)

Just where do they get the "natural color" from that ends up in candy or sweetened cereal? Many vegans are aware that some manufacturers use crushed cochineal bugs to color their foods, and worse, they never had to declare this source on the label! Until now.

According to this article from NutraIngredients, food and drink manufacturers that color their products with cochineal extract and carmine must now declare the ingredients on the label under a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruling.

The legislation is largely due to poor folks who have severe allergies to the additive, but it benefits us in other ways, not to mention the millions of (female only) insects who are bred to be crushed alive. Who wants that in our bodies? Now that labels will reveal this source, we can expect companies to switch to more humane and healthier colorings. What's wrong with beet extract?

Compliance due date is 2011. Until then, avoid artificially colored food, unless the label lists the source as something familiar and plant-based. Turmeric, beets, and blueberries are all used to naturally color food.

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