September 20, 2018 / 4:10 PM / in a month

Bon appetit! French find traces of bugs in their food and drink

PARIS (Reuters) - From insect residues in fizzy drinks to beef gelatin in yoghurt, consumer group Foodwatch said it had found undisclosed animal-based ingredients in a dozen food and drink products sold in France.

FILE PHOTO: Cochineal insects are seen on a nopal cactus leaf in Nopaltepec, state of Mexico September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo/File Photo

The watchdog’s findings come as consumers call for more transparency on the ingredients in their food, and as the number of vegans and vegetarians rises in France.”All kinds of critters are hiding in our food and drink without us knowing it,” Foodwatch said in a statement published on Thursday denouncing “scams on the label”.

“Agri-food manufacturers know very well when they use ingredients, additives or processing aid derived from animals. We also have the right to know in order to choose freely what we want to consume or not,” it added.

The study found coloring made from cochineal insects in orange fizzy drinks, Asian cochineal secretion in a strawberry ice cream and shiny red apples coated with insect resin.

FILE PHOTO: Pigment extracted from the cochineal insects are displayed at a Cochineal Campaign lab in Nopaltepec, state of Mexico September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo/File Photo

Other products found to contain animal-derived substances included sweets, cheese, chocolate-based desserts and the Italian dessert tiramisu, Foodwatch said.

Foodwatch also launched a separate online petition targeting French yoghurt maker Yoplait in particular, asking the company to make it clear when the gelatin used in its yoghurt comes from animals.

A Yoplait spokesman told Reuters that all the company’s products complied with the necessary regulations.

He said that the gelatin used in the production of the 0 percent fat “Panier de Yoplait” was of bovine origin, and used only in very small amounts.

It “will be permanently removed” from the recipe in 2019, he added.

Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide and Simon Carraud; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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