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Your favorite candy probably has bugs in it, and that’s really okay

Cochineal bugs are used as a red dye in many food items including strawberry yogurt. (Video: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences)

Bugs -- they make our food red. And that's totally fine.

If you think that "red" is the best flavor of candy (which it obviously is) then you've got to face the facts: The most natural way your candy could be colored is using ground-up cochineal insects.

These little critters have been dyeing things red for a long, long time. The Aztecs reportedly used them to dye vibrant fabrics. Now, the bugs are harvested from South American prickly pear plantations, dried, and crushed, with about 70,000 insects yielding a pound of dye. You can see photos of the process at Business Insider, or watch the video above to see the pigment come to life.

Like many bug-based additives, this red dye used to be listed as just another "natural color" on ingredient lists. But since some people are allergic to cochineal insects, the dye is now listed separately as carmine. Because people can find it in an ingredient list, they sometimes get a little grossed out by its presence -- or demand its removal. In 2012, Starbucks stopped using the dye after complaints.

But carmine isn't cause for concern in most people. From Live Science:

Aside from its role as an allergen, cochineal has no known health risks, although those who keep kosher or choose not to eat animal products will want to keep their distance. In addition to food, cochineal is used as a dye in cosmetics products, including lipstick, and at least one person has reported a severe allergic reaction to a cochineal dye used in a pill coating.

Reactions to carmine seem to be severe, but extremely rare. So unless you're allergic, just enjoy your buggy treats.

Besides, basically everything you eat is full of bugs anyway: The Food and Drug Administration reports that chocolate can have as much as 60 insect fragments per 100 grams before they'll take action. So this Halloween, embrace the benefits of bug eating and just enjoy your candy.