Posted by: TTCLauren | July 30, 2011

“Shellac: Candy Coating From The Rear End Of A Beetle”

How often do you think you are eating bugs?   Did you know that most candy coatings are actually made out from secretions that came out of a bug?

The shiny coating is known as Shellac, an ingredient that is used in many candies and pharmaceuticals.

Technically Shellac is recognized as GRAS under the FDA or Generally Recognized As Safe for human consumption.

Many people are shocked and a little disgusted when they find out that the source of shellac is from the rear end of a beetle-like bug.   The other name for shellac, confectioner’s glaze, sounds much sweeter than dried beetle juice.

They say that Eating Bugs Is Good For You…I’m not so sure I agree with that one!

It takes about 100,000 lac bugs to make 500 g of shellac flakes. This means that every time you eat those sweet candies you are really consuming parts from thousands of beetles.  Hmmm, wonder what that means for the vegetarian community?  Do bugs count ?

What products contain shellac?

As a general rule, any hard-coated, shiny candy contains a shellac coating or glaze (M&Ms™ is one exception–thank goodness! LOL) Shellac may appear on the label under different names. The two most common ones in use today are “resinous glaze” or “confectioner’s glaze.” In general, all Easter candy (eggs and jelly beans) are coated. Halloween candy (candy corn) is as well.

Other Confections Reported to Contain Shellac:

• Hershey’s Whopper’s Malted Milk Balls™
• Hershey’s Milk Duds™
• Nestle’s Raisinettes™
• Nestle’s Goober’s™
• Tootsie Roll Industry’s Junior Mints™ (NOT Tootsie Rolls)
• Tootsie Roll Industry’s Sugar Babies™
• Jelly Belly™ jelly beans, mint crèmes
• Godiva’s™ Dark Chocolate Almond Bar; Dark Chocolate Cherries; Milk Chocolate Cashews; White Chocolate Pearls; Milk Chocolate Pearls.
• Gertrude Hawk’s™ chocolate-covered nuts and raisins; cupcake sprinkles; decorative cake pieces
• Russell Stover’s™ jelly beans; NOT in their chocolate-covered cherries or mint patties
• Skittles™ and Starburst™: no shellac, but they do contain gelatin (an animal-derived ingredient)

Hungry?   Or not so much?


  1. Actually… M&M’s are proven to have parts of beetles in their candy coating. The dye that makes the red ones red are also used in many cranberry juices that are commonly found in the grocery store and deemed “healthy.”

  2. How is this any different than eating honey? Honey is a secretion from an insect and nobody finds that gross.

    • It’s all in how you look at it Dave. With honey, you are eating the product, not the bee itself. With carmine/cochineal extract you are actually ingesting the crushed bugs themselves. Which frankly is gross. And objectionable to vegetarians as well.

      • I don’t eat honey because it is predigested in the bee’s saliva. I do not use products with carmine/cochineal extract. Now I know I had a reason for not liking anything that is not chocolate……and yet, there are many bug parts in that, also.

  3. i think thats kind of gross im never eating that again exept skittles and starbursts

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