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Liquor Labels Must Disclose Cochineal Red

WASHINGTON (CN) - Manufacturers of alcoholic beverages using crimson coloring derived from the cochineal bug have to disclose its presence on the label, under new rules adopted by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Since 2009, the Food and Drug Administration has required manufacturers of foods containing cochineal extract to list it as an ingredient on all packaging, after it found that people had suffered anaphylactic shock from drinking liquor containing the dye.

The use of carmine is widespread, including in juices, popsicles, candy, yogurt, artificial crabmeat and cosmetics.

Cochineal has been valued for centuries as a red dye and is identified often identified on labels as "cochineal extract", "carmine", "crimson lake", "natural red 4", "C.I. 75470", "E120", or even "natural coloring". Use of the extract, which is derived from carminic acid produced on the scales of cochineal bugs , became popular after many commercial synthetic red dyes were found to be carcinogenic.

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