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The disturbing ingredient found in Tim Tam biscuits

The disturbing ingredient found in Tim Tam biscuits that will make you think twice about eating the Aussie classic

  • Tim Tams contain cochineal – a type of food coloring that comes from insects
  • Cochineal used to fall under ‘natural colors’ on ingredients lists until 2009
  • It has been known to provoke severe allergic reactions in some people

A viral TikTok video has exposed a concerning ingredient found in Tim Tam biscuits.

The classic Australian chocolate favourite contains cochineal – a type of food coloring that comes from South American insects and has been known to provoke severe allergic reactions.

Until 2009, cochineal was one of many dyes that fell under ‘natural color’ on ingredients lists. 

TikTok user jadassaad101 posted a video of himself reading out the ingredients list on the back of a packet of Arnott’s Tim Tams

Tim Tams contain cochineal (pictured) - a type of food coloring that comes from South American insects and has been known to provoke severe allergic reactions in some people

Tim Tams contain cochineal (pictured) – a type of food coloring that comes from South American insects and has been known to provoke severe allergic reactions in some people

But the potential dangers of the ingredient prompted the Food and Drug Administration to require that cochineal be explicitly identified in ingredients lists.

TikTok user jadassaad101 posted a video of himself reading out the ingredients list on the back of a packet of Arnott’s Tim Tams.

‘Make this go viral so people know the truth. Don’t eat Tim Tams anymore,’ he captioned the clip.

The Woolworths’ website confirms cochineal makes up part of the delicious biscuits, under: ‘Food Colours (Caramle III, Beet Red, Cochineal, Annatto)’.

Carmine is a color obtained from cochineal extract and gives food such as yogurt, lollies and beverages red, pink, and brown colours.

But allergic reaction is a major unwanted effect of carmine, and has been known to produce anaphylactic shock as a major adverse effect. 

Coffee giant Starbucks used to use the insect-based dye in some of its beverages. 

Any time customers see an ingredients list that includes carmine or cochineal extract, part of the food has come from the powdered bug.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Arnott’s several times for comment. 

What is cochineal? 

Cochineals are harvested mainly in Peru and the Canary Islands on plantations of prickly pear cacti, the bugs’ preferred host. There, the insects are sun-dried, crushed, and dunked in an acidic alcohol solution to produce carminic acid, the pigment that eventually becomes carmine or cochineal extract, depending on processing. About 70,000 insects are needed to produce a pound of dye.

Until 2009, cochineal was one of many dyes that fell under the umbrella term ‘natural color’ on ingredients lists. 

But because cochineal provokes severe allergic reactions in some people, the Food and Drug Administration requires carmine and cochineal extract to be explicitly identified in ingredients lists.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk