25 October 2021
News Ticker

E120 – Carmine, Carminic acid, Cochineal

Number: Name

E120(i) – Carmine

E120(ii) Cochineal extract

Other names: Cl 75470

Function: Colour

Description: red colour

Origin: Natural red food colour isolated from the insects Dactylopius coccus, living on different species of succulents.

E120(i) is the pure colour

E120(ii) is the crude extract


  • in food (for example it is used in spirits, sauce, meat, cake, yogurth)
  • cosmetics (for example it is used in eyeshadow, shampoo, mascara)

Daily intake: up to 5 mg/kg body weight

Side effects:

  • no side effects in the concentrations used in foods
  • increased hyperactivity has been reported in a few cases
  • contact allergy is well known when used in cosmetics


  • cannot be consumed by all religious groups, vegans and vegetarians, because it is extracted from insects
  • very soluble in water