Does the red color in fruit juice really come from a beetle?

Yes. The red coloring that makes many juices and jams red is from a natural dye called carmine. Carmine is derived from conchineal, or conchineal extract, which comes from the bodies of a female beetle (Dactylopius coccus) that lives on the Opuntia cactus. The insect is boiled and the scales of the insect are crushed into a red powder. It takes about 70,000 insects to make one pound of cochineal. The ancient Aztecs used cochineal as a dye for cloth and other items, and today it is widely used as a coloring agent for food, beverages, and cosmetics.


This is a web preview of the "Handy Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App