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18 Most Sickening Food Ingredients

cochineal-bugs

Credit: Getty Images

15 of 20

Carmine

What it is: Yup, insects again. In your food. When it comes to food, insects are handy for other things besides their shine. They’re good for color too, especially red. Carmine is a red food-coloring that comes from boiled cochineal bugs, which are a type of beetle.

There have been reports that the bug-based coloring can cause severe allergic reactions in some people, including potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, so the FDA now requires that the ingredient be listed clearly on food and cosmetic labels.

Where you’ll find it: Carmine can be found in ice cream, Skittles, Good n’ Plenty, lemonade, and grapefruit juice.

Gross-out factor: High if you're a vegan, medium for the rest of us

Next: Propylene glycol

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