are already there, even if you don’t know it | Wired Italy

You are scandalized by the idea of insects in food? The idea of ​​munching on the larvae chips does it make a certain impression on you (we did)? Know that in french fries that you normally buy at the supermarket and eat in front of the TV there has always been a dye derived from an insect. There cochineal (or more technically dactylopius) is in fact a white bug which lives mainly on cactus, especially in Central and South America, from which a bright red natural dye can be extracted. Enough grind the exoskeleton of the insects, make it a powder and mix it with hot water to get the red tint, which is used both in the power supply (with the abbreviation E120) and in the processing of fabrics.

On days when theEuropean Union gave the green light final to the distribution of cricket meal and mealworm larvae sparking discussions about the future of food, we tried to understand how much widespread the E120 in foods that we normally consume without blinking an eye. The examples there are quite a lot, from gummies to yogurts for the kids, and we’ve verified that all of them actually are on sale in Italy.

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The cochineal is the only example of insects in food in the strict sense and is also connected to another substance: the shellac (indicated in the labels as E904). It’s about a resinous secretion which is produced by lacquer cochineal or Kerria lacquer which is used for polish the fruit or how coating agentas he explains Francesco Fenga, president of the order of food technologists of Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Marche and Umbria. Not only that, remember Sara Savoldelli (associate professor in entomology at the University of Milan): for honeydew honey bees do not use the nectar of flowers (as for classic honey, which is in turn a product of the insects we are used to eating) but a sugary secretion called honeydew which is emitted by phytomitic insects and placed on trees.


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