In theá15th century,ácarmine dye was used in Central America for coloring fabrics. In the lateá19th century, after synthetic pigments and dyes had been invented, the production of natural dye gradually lessened.
However, as health fears over artificial food additives have increased, cochineal dyes are regaining popularity, making exploitation of the insect profitable again. As of 2005,áPeru (the largest exporter) produced 200 tons of cochineal dye per year and theáCanary Islandsáproduced 20 tons per year.áChileáand Mexico have also recently begun to export cochineal...
Quite aside from the health risks associated with the consumption of carmine, there’s something very concerning about the fact that we think nothing of crushing insects by the billions every year, for no reason other than that we like certain things to look a certain way. Is red coloring in food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and fabric so important to us that we are willing to turn a blind eye to its origin?
with M Butterflies Katz
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