'Natural Red' Food Dye Comes From Bugs, Should We Care?

Do know where your red food coloring comes from? Chances are that "natural red coloring" comes from bugs -- female cochineal insects to be exact. It takes about 70,000 of those little critters to produce a pound of dye.

If that sounds a little too natural, think about the alternative. Synthetic red dyes such as Red No. 2 or Red No. 40 are made from either coal or petroleum, which don't sound anymore appetizing  and also carry health hazards. Starbuck's president recently announced that they will stop using Natural Red 4, the one containing cochineal extract in response to some negativity from consumers who grew queasy at the thought of  bugs in their pastries.

Are they really doing any of us a favor? Would you rather eat bugs or coal? I choose bugs all the way, at least they're a good source of protein!