What is Carmine Color?
Carmine color, also known as cochineal extract or E120 (outside of the U.S. and Canada), is a food color extracted from the female cochineal beetle (Dactylopius coccus costa)1. Carmine provides food with a deep red color.
Is Carmine color safe?
Carmine colors have been used for centuries around the world2. Carmine used in confectionery must meet or exceed U.S. government standards established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA).
How do I know if a product contains carmine color?
As of 2011, the U.S. FDA requires that carmine be declared on the ingredients statement be labeled as “cochineal extract” or “carmine”3.
1CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 Sec. 73.100 Cochineal extract; carmine. (2013, April 1).
In U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from
2Carmine. (n.d.). In CHR Hansen. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from
3Guidance for Industry: Cochineal Extract and Carmine:
Declaration by Name on the Label of All Foods and Cosmetic Products That Contain These Color Additives; Small Entity Compliance Guide.
(2009, April). In U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from