Ramblings & ephemera

The cochineal insect’s gift of red

From Allen Abel and Madeleine Czigler’s “Scandal, communism, blood” (National Post: 27 June 2008):

The blood-red allure of lipstick is a gift of a parasitic insect that infests cactus plants, principally in Mexico and Peru. It has been known since Aztec and Mayan times that, when boiled, the body of the cochineal insect dissolves into a deep crimson dye. France is the leading importer. Cochineal dye, which is neither Kosher nor Halal (since it is forbidden for Jews or Muslims to consume any insect) also is used in thousands of foods and beverages, ranging from sausages and gelatin desserts to some Cheddar cheese.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.