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.