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The Gross Truth about Natural Colors

In the15th century,carmine dye was used in Central America for coloring fabrics. In the late19th 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,Peru (the largest exporter) produced 200 tons of cochineal dye per year and theCanary Islandsproduced 20 tons per year.Chileand 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

Image Sarah Klockars-Clauser for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike

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Read more: Animal Rights, Conscious Consumer, Diet & Nutrition, Food, Health, Pets, Vegan

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Angel Flinn

Angel Flinn is Director of Outreach for Gentle World a non-profit educational organization whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making the transition.

284 comments

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2:43PM PST on Feb 2, 2011

Cheers!

5:47AM PST on Jan 24, 2011

Vanessa, do you think insects are not animals? They too are part of the animal kingdom.

4:40PM PST on Jan 23, 2011

Interesting

10:23AM PST on Jan 22, 2011

I wouldn't care except it's unclean for me. We can only eat grasshoppers and crickets in the insect family.

1:16PM PST on Jan 14, 2011

Ewww. But I'm glad it's not an animal product.

3:45PM PST on Dec 26, 2010

Didn't know this, so good to know

12:32AM PST on Dec 26, 2010

all i can see theses days is that white stuff(snow)

2:58AM PST on Dec 25, 2010

Thanks

2:58AM PST on Dec 25, 2010

Thanks

2:58AM PST on Dec 25, 2010

Thanks

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