Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Make mine a strawberry frappuccino - but hold the bugs...

"Indian Collecting Cochineal with a Deer Tail" by Jose Antonio de Alzate y Ramirez (1777)

Strawberry flavoured milk, ice-cream, yoghurt, confectionary; who doesn't love strawberry-flavoured goodies? Perhaps though, some people wouldn't be so keen on consuming these goodies, if they knew that the colour (the dye) contained in some of these products has been extracted from the insect shells of the female cochineal bug - a parasite that lives on a certain type of cactus.

Recent controversy surrounding the use of cochineal extract in some of the US coffee chain Starbucks' products, has highlighted the debate surrounding this food colourant; which, it is claimed, can cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals. Find out more about the Starbucks' controversy and about cochineal (which is also used in textiles and cosmetics) by accessing the Proquest Academic Research Library Database free from home/library, by logging in with your library card's barcode.

Anyone for a red smartie? Rayyan.

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