I’m glad everyone was done with their fabulous food though before my talk which can be found at http://www.mendominerals.com/health-guide.html. The research for my talk brought me even closer to the truth of killing for pink and reds (and even some purples) used for coloring products. The truth was much worse then I imagined for the harvesting of the cochineal beetle to make pigments widely used in cosmetic and food products. The name is most commonly called Carmine. The name Carmine is also called Crimson Lake, Cochineal, and Natural Red #40 and very commonly used in all cosmetics including “healthy”, “natural”, and “mineral”.
What I am going to share about obtaining and using Carmine is very disturbing and my hopes are to encourage your label reading and to stay away from these products in support of this inhumane business.
The Cochineal beetles grow on cactus plants or are attached to cactus plants by baskets filled with the females. Only the females are used in the production or slaughter for the pigment. In fact, most literature says only the pregnant females are harvested due to the most amount of red carminic acid for making pigments and the eggs are used as well. The male beetle doesn’t live long after mating and are not used. The pregnant females are first inhumanely collected by being brushed or knocked off the cacti. This is followed by killing them through immersion in hot water with sun drying, or by being baked directly in the sun. The pigment is then crushed, dissolved in a solvent and filtered. For this process, it takes ~70,000 female insects to produce just one pound of cochineal. The population of insects required for the annual consumption amounts to six times the world’s human population.
This cruelty is not needed as there are many cruelty-free substitutes such as iron oxide minerals and plant based pigments such as red grapes. In cosmetics, ingredient lists are required and should be available online and in their literature although many do not follow this. Since January 2011 food products are now required to say if they contain Carmine as well.
Help stop this cruelty by purchasing products free of Carmine!