On January 5, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a rule ordering food and drink manufacturers that color their products with cochineal extract and carmine to declare the presence of those ingredients on labels. Further details about the rule appear in issue 287 of this Update. Last week, FDA confirmed the effective date for full compliance with the rule as January 5, 2011.

FDA revised its requirements for these color additives in response to reports of severe allergic reactions to food containing cochineal extract and food and cosmetics containing carmine. The colorings, derived from the dried bodies of beetles, are used in various products such as ice creams, yogurts, fruit drinks, alcoholic beverages, and candy products. They make the products pink, red or purple.

The coloring agents were previously listed under “artificial color” or “artificial color added” on ingredient labels. Beginning in 2011, FDA will require foods containing cochineal extract or carmine to list the ingredients by their common or usual names, “cochineal extract” or “carmine.” See Federal Register, March 11, 2009.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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