Are there bugs in Campari?

No Campari, doesn’t have bugs in it, anymore.  If you are in a dive bar that has pour-spouts on everything, then, I can assure you that bottle of Campari has graveyard of fruit flies in the bottom of the bottle.  


You may have heard that Campari is colored with red beetles, that used to be true but Campari stopped the practice of using bug-based food coloring in 2006. However, many spirits were, and some still are colored with a little red South American bugs that look like beetles.  The cochineal bug is smaller than a pencil eraser and lives on nopal (prickly pear) cacti.  


When you see “carmine” on an ingredients list, that means your cranberry juice, paper dye, lipstick, textiles, orange cheese or red pastry also has little ground up red bug bits.  I have an imam, a rabbi and a vegan on retainer (not really) to comment on questions about if carmine is halal, kosher or a bummer, (technical terms) and they specifically say: “maybe.”  Some Muslim and Jewish people say bugs shouldn’t be consumed, some rabbis say eating bugs where it was traditional is fine, and vegans can consult their conscious knowing that “carmine” = “dead bugs.”


But, most of the Campari in the 21st century is bug free.