Prepare to be disgusted: Many products we use every day, such as lipstick, gelatin, candy and shampoo, contain dye. Even some foods we eat contain dye. The disgusting part? Dyes such as carmine contain minuscule amounts of Dactylopius coccus, which is a beetle that can be found on cacti.
According to the World Health Organization, carmine has been known to be associated with asthma or allergic reactions. Individuals who are more susceptible to asthmatic attacks or even allergens should look out for terms such as “crimson lake,” Natural Red #4, E120 or cochineal dye in the ingredients.
Fortunately, Starbucks Corporation recently released a statement saying that the carmine dye in many of their strawberry-flavored foods will be replaced with lycopene, a tomato extract. It should be noted that not all food products contain the same cochineal dye; others use Red Dye #40, which is extracted from petroleum and also has side effects such as hyperactivity. Take a look at your food label — you might be surprised to see how many artificial and cochineal dyes you might find.
The ASUCD Student Health and Wellness Committee (SHAWC) aims to promote and address important health-related issues on campus. We serve as a liaison between ASUCD and campus health organizations, clubs and resources. If you have SHAWCing suggestions, questions or tips, please e-mail us at email@example.com and “Like” us on our Facebook page!