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. 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 go skip the insect-extract and use more fruit to color its yogurt.
To: Franck Riboud, CEO, Groupe Danone
It has come to my attention that in 13 of your fruit-flavored yogurts, you use carmine to give those products additional red color.
As you know, carmine is the coloring extracted from the pulverized dried bodies of the cochineal insect. While safe for most people, it causes allergic reactions in some consumers, ranging from hives to anaphylactic shock. When I buy Fruit on the Bottom, Light and Fit Greek, Oikos, or Activia yogurt I expect that the red color comes from the fruits described on the label—and not an allergenic extract made from bugs.
If you think that your yogurts are insufficiently pink or red, please consider using additional fruit, and not carmine or synthetic dyes, to color them. If Dannon insists on continuing to use carmine, at the very least it should indicate that the uncommon ingredient is derived from an insect.
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