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Watchdog group wants Dannon to stop using crushed bugs in yogurt

Natural health watchdog group Citizens for Health wants Dannon to stop using "bug-based" ingredients to dye the company's yogurt.

dannon yogurt Dannon yogurt has come under fire for using a food dye made from crushed insects.
Credit: Daniel Julia/flickr

Natural health watchdog group Citizens for Health wants Dannon to stop using crushed bugs in the company's yogurt.

The group said in a release that advocates are "taken aback by Dannon’s blasé attitude about using an allergenic, bug-based extract and not just berries to color their yogurt."

They're urging Dannon and other food companies who use carmine, a dye made from the bodies of insects, to more clearly label the products or to switch to plant-based alternatives.

“When consumers asked Starbucks to stop using bugs in their Frappucinos last year, the company responded with sensitivity and complied within 48 hours without any further prompting,” Citizens for Health president Jim Turner said in a statement.

“It’s mind-boggling that Dannon would so off-handedly dismiss the very same consumer request. They’re just crying out to be challenged.”

Citizens for Health partnered with fitness guru Michelle Dozois, who is urging citizens to sign a Center for Science in the Public Interest-led petition on Take Action, Berries Over Bugs! Tell Dannon to Get Insect Extract Out of Yogurt.

"Instead of relying entirely on strawberries, raspberries, cherries or other healthy, wholesome fruit, Dannon sometimes uses an extract made from the pulverized dead bodies of cochineal insects to give its yogurts fruity red colors," the petition reads.

"It’s deceptive and gross. But for some, cochineal insects (usually labeled as carmine on food labels) can trigger a dangerous allergic reaction. Dannon should skip the insect-extract and use more fruit to color its yogurt."

The petition, addressed to Dannon CEO Franck Riboud, had garnered 9,578 signatures Tuesday morning.

"I’m not opposed to people eating insects if that’s what they want to do," Dozois said in a statement. "I just don’t want to be tricked into putting bug-based extracts into my kids’ lunch boxes. I want Dannon and other food companies to clearly label bugs!"

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