Carmine is an insect-derived color ingredient.
Carmine is often used in products such as ..yogurt, ice cream, juice, candy, cosmetics, paint, etc, giving food a pink, red, or purple color when added. They are made from female Coccus cacti or Dactylopius coccus, or their eggs; these female beetles turn bright red right around the time they're about to lay eggs, which is also when they're harvested.
Because the source of this coloring is beetles, carmine is also often included in what are labeled as 'natural' foods. In terms of its effect on one's health, this almost never poses a threat to anyone (except for those with severe allergic reactions to beetles; for more info, google carmine or cochineal extract). But there is the obvious 'grossness' factor in having food coloring made from insects. A recent FDA proposal requires that food products be labeled in more detail - e.g. 'carmine' or 'cochineal' (though without the word 'insect').
People's thoughts on carmine seem to vary. There are people who are devastated and horrified to find out what carmine really is, and others who really don't mind.
* What are your reactions to the thought of carmine as an ingredient in your food or cosmetics?
* What do you think of the FDA proposal? (Do you want to be told that there is 'carmine' in your food? Or is this change unnecessary? Or do you want it to say insect instead?)
* Would this affect your decision to eat/not eat certain foods (or use/not use certain cosmetics)?