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FDA May Require Labels to Specify Red Dyes January 29, 2006 2:26 PM

FDA May Require Labels to Specify Red Dyes
Associated Press
Saturday, January 28, 2006; A05
Food and cosmetic labels may soon be required to list the presence of widely used red colorings made from insects but will not have to disclose the dyes' origins, according to a proposed rule made public yesterday.

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed requiring that manufacturers flag the presence of cochineal extract and carmine in their products. The red colorings are extracted from the ground female bodies of Dactylopius coccus Costa , an insect exploited for dye since the time of the Aztecs.

The proposed rule comes in response to reports of 35 severe allergic reactions to the colorings, the regulatory agency said. A 1998 petition by the Center for Science in the Public Interest asked that the FDA take action.

Carmine is used in ice cream, strawberry milk, fake crab and lobster, fruit cocktail cherries, port wine cheese, lumpfish eggs, and liqueurs such as Campari, the FDA said. Carmine also can be found in lipstick, makeup base, eye shadow, eyeliners, nail polishes and baby products, the agency said.

The presence of cochineal extract or carmine in products now can be noted simply as "color added." They are also sometimes listed as E120 on labels, the FDA said.


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