Kitchen Think: Fed Up With Dannon’s Misleading Labels


There are bugs in some of Dannon’s “Fruit on the Bottom” brand yogurts… and Dannon knows it.

Dannon Fruit on the Bottom YogurtBut it’s not the bugs that bother me, it’s the deception. Let me explain.

Dr. Michael F. Jacobson, Mama’s friend from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, tells me that Dannon uses cochineal beetles as food coloring in its yogurt.

Dead cochineal beetles are dried and pulverized and made into a red extract known as carmine, that goes into Dannon’s Fruit on the Bottom strawberry, raspberry, cherry and boysenberry yogurts. It’s also used in the Oikos Greek Strawberry Yogurt, two flavors marketed under Dannon’s Light and Fit Greek brand line, and six Activia brand yogurts.

Dannon does it to save money by replacing red berries or cherries with the insect food coloring. And I’ll admit that this is MUCH BETTER than using red food dye or other artificial food coloring.

Dannon Fruit on the Bottom Nutritional Facts

My problem is that Dannon doesn’t disclose that the ingredient “carmine (for color)” on the label comes from cochineal beetles. That’s just wrong.

We have the right to know EVERY ingredient in a product, especially since the Food and Drug Administration requires companies to disclose cochineal beetles or carmine in their ingredients (mostly due to allergy issues). But vegetarians should also know that there’s “meat” in their yogurt.

Starbucks went through this last year when the company disclosed that the beetles were used in their Frappuccinos and other beverages. They’ve since stopped using carmine.

Cochineal extract is used in an amazing amount of food products including spices, meats, sausages, jams, gelatins, desserts, icing, juices… the list goes on and on. Fine—just put cochineal beetles in the ingredient list on the side of the package. I know it’s not appetizing, but it IS the truth.

If what Dannon is doing bugs you, sign this petition asking the company to choose berries over beetles!


I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: