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Natural Food Coloring From Tomatoes

Natural Food Coloring From Tomatoes

Some readers might remember an article I did a while back about the insect-derived dye called “carmine” or “cochineal”:

“Many consumers may not yet be aware that the red substance coloring their food, fabric, cosmetics or pharmaceuticals could be extracted from the crushed bodies of scale insects.

The words Cochineal, Cochineal Extract, Carmine, Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, E120, and even some ‘natural colorings’ refer to a dye called ‘carminic acid’, which is primarily used as a food coloring and in cosmetics.

Carminic acid is a substance found in high concentration in cochineal insects. It is extracted from the insect’s body and eggs and is mixed with aluminum or calcium salts to make carmine dye (also known as cochineal).”

Although carmine has been widely accepted as a “natural” alternative to chemical dyes, it has recently received an increasing amount of public attention from squeamish consumers.

Enter, Tomat-O-Red.

“Tomat-O-Red® is a patented tomato lycopene-based food coloring formulated to deliver vibrant, stable red colors for a wide range of food and beverage applications. A natural food ingredient, Tomat-O-Red is a safe, vegan and kosher alternative to other common red color additives produced from insect extract, specifically cochineal extract or carmine, or synthetics.”

Tomat-O-Red isn’t marketed to consumers, since it’s a food industry product. However, we can help to create demand for its use by contacting companies and asking them if their ‘natural colors’ are animal- or plant-derived. If they’re still using the antiquated ingredient known as carmine or cochineal, we can now let them know that there is an alternative available.


Related Posts:
What’s That Glaze on Your Vitamins?
Are Animal Fats Hiding In Your Favorite Products?
The Gross Truth About Natural Flavors

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Food, Vegan, Vegetarian,

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Angel Flinn

Angel Flinn is Director of Outreach for Gentle World – a non-profit educational organization whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making the transition.


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12:16AM PDT on Oct 25, 2013

thanks for sharing

10:56AM PDT on Apr 30, 2013

Merci pour le partage.

9:52AM PST on Mar 3, 2013

Thank you Angel, for Sharing this!

8:07AM PST on Nov 5, 2012

I wish to begin making my own food coloring, but I make so much of my own food as it is and with work I hardly have time. I plan to this year for the Winter Holidays at least, just for the frosting really.

6:43PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Very good info!

7:33AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

great idea, i've actually stained some clothing items while chopping up tomtatoes

2:16PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

It would be great if you'd make up a lst of companies who use artificial colors in their products so we could contact them about their choices.

9:46AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012


9:59PM PDT on Jul 7, 2012

So, how do we make our demands known?

5:40PM PDT on Jul 7, 2012


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