WASHINGTON (CN) – Manufacturers of alcoholic beverages using a crimson color additive derived from the cochineal bug will have to disclose its presence on the label, under rules proposed by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The FDA found that people have suffered anaphylactic shock from drinking liquor containing the dye.
The bureau’s action comes after the Food and Drug Administration issued regulations requiring manufacturers of foods containing cochineal extract to list it as an ingredient on all packaging, as a response to several instances of allergic reactions. For example, five women suffered anaphylactic shock after consuming the alcoholic beverage Campari, whose distinctive color comes in part from the use of carmine.
The use of carmine is widespread, including in juices, popsicles, candy, yogurt, artificial crabmeat and cosmetics.
The dye may be called “cochineal extract”, “carmine”, “crimson lake”, “natural red 4”, “C.I. 75470”, “E120”, or even “natural coloring”. It became popular after many commercial synthetic red dyes were found to be carcinogenic.
Cochineal has been valued for centuries as a red dye.