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Dannon Colors its Yogurt Not with Fruit But with Crushed Beetles (Carmine)

For many cultures, eating bugs is only natural, but did you know that one of the most trusted yogurt companies, Dannon, has been coloring their yogurts not with fruit, but with crushed cochineal beetles? Sure you didn’t, because the FDA considers insects a natural color additive and exempts it from stringent certifications. The color-additive is called carmine, and it is used in Activia Brand, Oiko’s Greek Yogurt, Danimals and other yogurt products which Dannon makes.

The Center for Science and Public Interest (CSPI) is pretty sure you weren’t aware that Dannon was using carmine to color their foods. They have been targeting companies like Dannon, and Coca-Cola for making exaggerated, false or misleading claims about the food they produce, like Coca-Cola’s inflated claims about Vitamin Water, for example.

For people who are vegetarians or others with food restrictions, this can be especially problematic. Imagine a Buddhist Monk scooping up a seemingly benign spoonful of yogurt, only to find out he has been eating crushed insects. These people are so full of compassion they have been known to scoop drowning mosquitoes from a water bowl.

Even for those who aren’t eating insects for spiritual reasons, there could be numerous allergies associated to Dannon products which contain carmine. The bottom line though, is that consumers have a right to know what is in their food.

Related Read: Researchers Propose Eating Insects Instead of Meat

Dannon’s senior director of public relations, Michael J. Neuwirth doesn’t seem to have a problem with the public not knowing about insect-ingredients in their products, “Any of our products that contain carmine clearly list it as an ingredient,” he said. “Anyone who wishes to avoid it can.” Those with dietary restrictions and allergies are accustomed to reading ingredient lists, he added.

CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson asked why the company didn’t just use fruit or vegetable food colors [like beets], and rightfully scolded Dannon in a press release. “Why risk offending vegetarians and grossing out your other customers?” They also have pictures of fruits on their yogurt labels. This is seen as very misleading when there are no fruits in the yogurt at all.

You can tell Dannon to get insects out of your yogurt here and add your opinion as well.

Additional Sources:

Huffington Post

From around the web:

 
  • Jerusalem Cats

    The best protection against carnine and other questionable ingredients is to look for a reliable Kosher certification on the label, such as the OU, OK or Star K. The Kosher certification agencies look for inappropriate ingredient and will not give a certificate if they are included. Not only the product is checked but also the supplier of all the ingredients are checked so that you have a chain from the Farm, Dairy or Field to the warehouse, to the Manufacturer. Inspections are carried out constantly and in most locations during Manufacturing there is a full time inspector to make sure that everything is proper. That is why you need a reliable Kosher Certification for constant inspection.

    • Healthyat58

      EXCELLENT ADVICE!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

    • Jerusalem Cats

      In Jerusalem, Israel we use Yoplait which is "The Bais Din Tzedek of the Eida Hachareidis of Jerusalem" Kosher Certification
      I'm sure you can find Yoplait locally with either a OU, OK, Star K, cRc or Kof-K Kosher Certification on it.

    • maddy

      Guess what……I just took "DANNON" Light & Fit Strawberry Banana out of my fridge just a minute ago to see the spelling…DANNON however at the very bottom left front of the label says "A Product of the Danone group" It is also K certified, But nowhere in the ingredients does it list carmine..here's the list…INGREDIENTS: cultured grade A Non Fat Milk,Strawberries, Water, Fructose, Contains Less Than 1% of Modified Corn Startch, Kosher Gelatin,Banana Puree, Natural and Artificial Flavors,Sucralose, (Potassium Sorbate to maintain freshness), Acesulfame Potassium, Annatio Extract (for color), Vitamin A Palmtate, VitaminD3,Milk Acid, Souium Citrate, Red40.

  • Ethyl

    I heard about this several years ago, and thought they had stopped using this stuff when word got out before. Apparently not! I guess people must like eating the stuff. I wonder what beautiful colors in the food they could get from squashed roaches, and roadkill? I wonder if Mr Neuwirth eats the stuff! UGH!

  • Greta H, RN

    So what brand name is "safe" to eat? don't just say kosher…. we need to know which label to shop for! thanks much
    Greta H, RN

  • jph

    How is this a bad thing? As if they would use real fruit in the first place? At least this is natural. White society needs to get past their disgust with insects. Insects will be the new pork. Why we haven't taken advantage of this amazingly efficient source of protein yet is beyond me.

    • maddy

      WHITE SOCIETY…….WHAT DOES WHITE HAVE TO DO WITH IT??????? YOUR A IDIOT, I F YOU BURIED YOUR HEAD IN A MUD PUDDLE WE PROBABLY WOULDN'T SEE THE DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU CAME OUT…HOWS THAT!!!

  • jph

    lol, killing a tree or a plant is just as stressful as killing an insect for anyone who thinks in those terms

  • J Marshall

    After reading some of the above posts about things being 'kosher', I think I can see who is in charge of this comments section. My comment (not even for or against cochineal) was deleted immediately without even being considered. Why say 'Comment as a Guest' if it is impossible!

  • KAS

    I think I will stick to making my own..I will never buy Dannon products again..And I will tell everyone about this..

  • Isabelle

    You may want to check the spelling of companies you mention on your post :-) Dannon is actually DANONE.

    • maddy

      …I just took "DANNON" Light & Fit Strawberry Banana out of my fridge just a minute ago to see the spelling…DANNON however at the very bottom left front of the label says "A Product of the Danone group" It is also K certified, But nowhere in the ingredients does it list carmine..here's the list…INGREDIENTS: cultured grade A Non Fat Milk,Strawberries, Water, Fructose, Contains Less Than 1% of Modified Corn Startch, Kosher Gelatin,Banana Puree, Natural and Artificial Flavors,Sucralose, (Potassium Sorbate to maintain freshness), Acesulfame Potassium, Annatio Extract (for color), Vitamin A Palmtate, VitaminD3,Milk Acid, Souium Citrate, Red40.

  • Paul

    So what. I eat anything anyway. I was eating healthy until I found out I have cancer. I'm 58 and going by way of Family order. Everyone in my family has died of cancer

    • Tiffany

      Every person on the planet is born with cancer cells in their body. What we eat makes them go rogue. Check out thelivingfoodsinstitute.com and learn how this true Lady cured herself of Ovarian and Breast Cancer using living foods.

  • skinnycat

    What about plain Dannon yogurt? Does it have any icky ingredients in it?

  • yankee phil

    If the bugs weren't enough now we're advised to eat products from Isreal where they irrigate their crops with sewer water,from the frying pan into the fire I guess. Best advise is to find a local yogurt manufacturer instead of buying from a multinational. Local produce and products are always fresher and can be better controlled for this type of fraud,also it helps your own economy and employs people like yourself.

  • RZD

    Well apparently no one noticed a difference in taste and weren't disgusted with it before. I think it's as strange as eating beef or pork. It's not unsafe, it's natural, and it doesn't change the flavor so who cares?

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  • Bonnie

    I had just finished eating a strawberry Dannon Oikos and I just about threw up! I love yogurt and this one was (WAS) my favorite. I guess I will have to find something else to take its place. No wonder people are sick and doctors can't find what is the cause of their health issues. Just will have to go back to some meat and potatoes. NO MORE DANNON!!

  • Grace Chapulcu

    The Buddhist monk line is pretty misleading. Most commercial yogurts already contain gelatin (from pig skins), so the buddhist monk wouldn't be eating it in the first place if they were so concerned about being vegetarian.