A few other contributors here have mentioned an ingredient found in certain foods and cosmetics, but haven't mentioned what it is exactly. A vegan friend of mine clued me in a few years ago, and I was shocked to know that I unwittingly was consuming this product.
What is carmine? Carmine is dried crushed red beetles. It is used as a coloring ingredient in many reputable cosmetics and foods such as yogurt, ice cream and fruit juices. You'd be surprised how many "natural" products contain this disgusting ingredient.
With respect to this week being 'Be Kind to Animals Week', I don't think this is a very kind way to treat a living creature. The majority of these beetles come from Peru. They are collected and placed into bags. The insects are then killed by either being immersed in hot water or by other extreme temperatures from steam or hot ovens.
One of my ex-favorite cosmetics that claim to be cruelty-free uses carmine in their lipsticks and eye shadows is Mac Cosmetics. I was so upset to learn this. I checked the label, and sure enough, carmine was listed amongst other unfamiliar chemical ingredients. Time for a new eye shadow, I say.
If this concerns you at all, please check your labels. There are many companies out there that don't use carmine just to make their products look pretty. Killing beetles for vanity is not an option for me.
Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)