FDA this week issued a final rule requiring food and cosmetic manufacturers to declare the presence of cochineal extract and carmine in their products. Derived from dried insect bodies, the two coloring agents were previously labeled under “artificial colors” or “color added” on ingredient lists. “This final rule responds to reports of severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis to cochineal extract-containing food and carmine-containing food and cosmetics and will allow consumers who are allergic to these color additives to identify and thus avoid products that contain these color additives,” according to FDA, which requires full compliance with the rule by January 5, 2011. See FoodNavigator-USA.com, January 6, 2009.

Meanwhile, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has criticized the final rule for failing to indicate the extracts’ insect origins. The consumer advocacy group first petitioned FDA in 1998 for more stringent labeling of cochineal and carmine, citing their widespread use in “dozens of reddish-colored foods and beverages, including fruit drinks, ice creams, yogurts, and candies.” “[T]he FDA should have required labels to disclose that carmine and cochineal are extracted from insects, which many consumers – including vegetarians, Jews and Muslims – would be interested to know,” opined CSPI in a recent press release. See The New York Times’ Well Blog and CSPI Press Release,
January 5, 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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