Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Have You Had Your FDA Approved Serving of Bugs Today?

Crushed cochinea?
Yes, we all know that insect body parts (in teeny, tiny quantities) are in many of our foods - accidentally and mostly unnoticed. There are teeny, tiny pieces of insects in our chocolates, our soups, breads and of course, our fruits and veggies. I have a mild phobia to bugs so I try to not even think about it. (read the story I wrote for the Orlando Sentinel in 1993). This week I read this article  and learned the Cochineal insect is crushed to used to color threads and yarn and Starbuck's Strawberry Frappuccino. At first I thought I dodged that one because I certainly do not drink Strawberry Frappuccinos. But then I read
"Cochineal is considered safe by the FDA, and is widely used for coloration in jams, preserves, meat, marinades, alcoholic drinks, bakery products, cookies, cheddar cheese and many other food products."

Then I read 
"It has been found by the World Health Organization, however, to cause asthma in some people, and in some others an allergic reaction."
This is what I learned from my intrepid Internet research on the subject. 
Cochinea Bugs
  • A U.S. Food and Drug Administration rule effective January 5, 2011 requires all foods and cosmetics containing cochineal to declare it on their ingredient labels
  • FDA also considers it a natural flavoring
  • It is sometimes labeled as Carmine
  • It is sometimes labeled as E120
  • The water-soluble form is used in alcoholic drinks with calcium carmine
  • The insoluble form is used in a wide variety of products such as meat, sausages, processed poultry products surimi, marinades, alcoholic drinks, bakery products and toppings, cookies, desserts, icings, pie fillings, jams, preserves, gelatin desserts, juice, beverages, varieties of cheddar cheese and other dairy products, sauces, and sweets.

Cochinea Cheddar?
What else has the FDA approved that we do not recognize because of the name it is allowed to use? Is there a serving of "Natural" excrement in our canned mushrooms? Perhaps "naturally derived" nasal secretions in our mucus products? Come on, the name mucus products came from somewhere. . . . 

How am I going to be keeping the pounds off this week? Screw that, I am afraid to eat. How am I going to be keeping the pounds on? 

If only it were that easy. 



downsizers said...

Do you live where you can grow some of your own food? We are making a point of gardening at a higher level this year. Food prices are getting ridiculous. We should be eating more unprocessed foods anyway so this may be your opening to do that. Don't make yourself crazy over this. Some things are out of our control to come extent. We are exposed to things every day but if we are healthy our bodies are perfectly capable of dealing with those little "invaders". You are doing healthy things so just trust your body. Things like that don't bother me but I know some have real fears. You have dealt with bigger problems than this. Take care.

Norma said...

Those beetles are in the Yoplait strawberry and raspberry yogurts and probably in any processed food that's flavored as "red" fruit or is red or pink in color. Honestly, the bug dye is less troubling than all the sugar and fake flavors in that crap, but still unpleasant to think about.

Jane Cartelli said...

Downsizers - I'm not afraid of the dried crushed cochinea. (the way I would have been 20 years ago). I'm just annoyed that the FDA decided it should be in my food for color. I do not even like red (or pink) colored foods. It was more a fun rant.
But since you asked, Yes, I do grow some of my own vegetables and fruits. Also 90% of my food is unprocessed. I will have to catch/dry and crush my own cochinea if I want any- not.

Norma -
I have never liked red or pink icings, sprinkles, etc. Could it be my taste buds are so sensitive I recognize insects and I don't like the taste of Cochinea? LOL

E. Jane said...

I try to block any thoughts of bugs in food, because I am quite finicky. But it doesn't bother me as much as pink slime! Btw...the grandkids are doing very well, but Grandma is a bit tired. We also have their elderly dog, and she is awake most of the night.

Jane Cartelli said...

What ever you do E.Jane, do NOT let the elderly dog watch the YOUtube video of a bichon howling while it plays the piano. Someone sent it to me yesterday and my bichon started howling back at the video - and he never howled in the past 8 years . . . .

Vickie said...

I find it so helpful when these things come up over things I do not want to eat or am tempted to eat. really helpful.

NOT talking about you! one time a blogger posted something about salad. It was the beginning of summer and she turned me off salad for that whole summer. I don't think I gained a pound over it, but it made for a difficult time. I think I was over it by the next summer. And now obviously can think of it (as I write) and set it aside and continue eating my salad.

Jane Cartelli said...

Vickie - Happy Birthday to you!
I can relate to being turned off to a good food that way. It was the reason I was worried about posting my broccoli spider story last year. I am glad you said it wasn't me. :-)

Susan Bodendo/Super Earthling said...

Oh no!


That was me singing while clapping my hands over my ears and eyes, Jane, doing my best to block out all this nasty bug-related stuff. :-o I'm already so obsessed with trying to eat healthy that this will leave me with nothing to put on my plate...or in my cup.

The good news is that I'll probably lose weight a whole lot faster. LOL

Great post! :D

Jane Cartelli said...

Super Earthing - It really pissed me off that it is in my lipstick. I kiss my husband with bug lips!

Anonymous said...

Too funny. Yep. IF ONLY bugs would keep us from eating. When I was a kid I loved this book called "How to Eat Fried Worms". Still holds really. I will eat almost anything and enjoy other people being squeamish about food.

If people knew how dirty chefs are (often) they would not ever eat out.

Anonymous said...

I just read Downsizers. Bubble burst moment: Lots of bugs in your homegrown goodies. My hubs and I often remark at the end of each growing season that we have probably eaten a small jar's worth of bugs. In the grocery, the bugs have to have staying power to cling to the goods.

Jane Cartelli said...

Munchie: Remember the kid's song about eating worms? I could not even sing it without puking a little.