You could have been eating insects all your life without even realising

We’ve all heard that old wives’ tale that says 'we eat seven spiders every year in our lifetime'. That’s enough to turn your stomach even if you’re not an arachnophobe. As much as that theory is simply false, there is scientific evidence to back up a similar one: We’ve been eating insects our entire life without realising.

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The sheer thought of eating insects makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, but you could have been eating small parts of insectsyour whole life without even realising. This is because the basis of red carmine dye, which is used intensively across the food industry, is extracted from an insect called Cochineal.

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Used in the production of fizzy drinks, yoghurts and sweets, this red dye is used for a number of reasons. The first reason is that it’s not easily perishable. It’s also resistant to variations in temperature and pH which makes it a versatile ingredient in food production. It’s also non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.

Theinsectsthemselves originate from Latin America and live in Cacti. Most of these insects come from Peru where they are collected for the manufacture of the dye. Aside from being used in food production, they’re also used in the manufacturing of cosmetics such as lipsticks.

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