Contemporary Legend – Monterray Park, California

“Brown food coloring is made out of bugs”


Kenneth heard this legend from friends during high school (in Monterrey Park).

Collector’s comments

This is one of the many legends I heard about food coloring. There always seems to be a disgusting legend about particular colors of food coloring. In this case, Kenneth heard that brown food coloring was made of some type of bugs.

I thought the legend was simply fabricated because many bugs have a dark outer shell. However, I found out that brown (or a dark red / maroon food coloring, as my source states) is often made out of beetles because synthetic brown food coloring was found to be harmful to people. My source also claims that using beetles has no adverse health effects.

Annotation: This legend, along with facts and sources that prove this legend is true, can be found at:

Date of access: April 20, 2007