Waiter, there’s a fly in my food coloring

Beetle1_1So, suppose you were casually reading the label on your bottle of Gatorade one day, and you noticed the ingredients listed were water, sucrose syrup, citric acid and crushed female cochineal beetles? Be afraid, be very afraid, because according to The Wall Street Journal (it’s free content, so click away), it may happen soon. It turns out that many of those lovely colorings are actually derived from insects, and some groups (such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest) and individuals (like vegetarians, who according to the story have pondered their vegetarianism to such a degree that they’ve spent time considering whether they can eat insects) are pushing for labels to include things we’d rather not know about. Several things occur to me. One: that my brothers, who used to routinely drink straight out of the Hi-C can in the fridge, were actually telling the truth when they said they were just looking in the can to check for dead flies. Two: that there actually are lots of old ladies who swallowed a fly. And three: that water never looked so good.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor