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FDA Says Labels Must Identify Certain Color Additives by Name

Jan 12, 2009

The Food and Drug Administration last week published a final rule amending its color additive regulations for products containing cochineal extract and carmine. The rule will require companies that use carmine and cochineal in food and cosmetic products to list the additives by name on the product label, instead of declaring them as "artificial color" or "color additives."

IDFA submitted comments to FDA in May 2006 supporting the agency's proposal, which is intended to provide more information to consumers who suffer allergic reactions to the additives. The final rule will take effect on January 5, 2011.

The dairy industry uses carmine and cochineal extract in foods such as port wine cheese spreads, strawberry yogurt and cherry water ices. Many IDFA members who use the color additives already list them as ingredients on a voluntary basis.

In its comments, IDFA also agreed with FDA that there is no need to declare on the label that the color additives are derived from insects. This declaration had been requested in a petition to FDA by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, but was not included in the final rule.

Members with questions may contact Michelle Matto, assistant director of nutrition and labeling, at or 202-737-4332.


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