Carmine is a natural red dye derived from the crushed carcasses of a scale insect, a tree bug related to aphids.

Health considerations

Carmine has been associated with asthma and other adverse allergenic effects upon ingestion. Carmine is frequently allergenic upon contact when used as a cosmetic.

Keep in mind

Carmine is not suitable for use by vegans, vegetarians, and other individuals concerned with intake of insect-derived products. Product may be listed as the compound calcium carmine or ammonium carmine.

May be found in

Yogurt, red juices, “ruby red” juices, alcoholic drinks, bakery products, desserts, icings, pie fillings, cheddar cheese, sauces.


International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Advances in Food and Nutrition Research
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology

Alternative Spellings and Names

Red #4, Natural red #4, crimson lake, cochineal, C.I. 75470, carminic acid, E120

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