Monday, November 30, 2020

Cochineal coloring allergy

Cochineal dye is a natural red colorant extracted from dried female cochineal insects (Dactylopius coccus) that grow on cochineal cacti widespread in Central and Southern America, Southern Europe, and India. Cochineal dye is used worldwide as a red coloring in processed food and drinks, cosmetics and textiles.

Nowadays, it is found in hamburgers, sausages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, sweets and fruit yoghurts.

The main component of the red color is carminic acid (CA). Carmine is an aluminum- or calcium-chelated product of CA, a hydroxylanthraquinone linked to a glucose unit. CA and carmine usually contain contaminating proteins, including a 38-kDa protein thought to be the primary allergen.

Several cases of occupational asthma, cheilitis, and food allergy implicating cochineal extract have been reported following the ingestion of carmine in foods and drinks. IgE-mediated food and respiratory hyper-sensitivity has been shown, and cheilitis following contact with lipsticks colored with carmine has been reported as well.

Severe allergic reactions manifest as anaphylaxis. Several cases of anaphylaxis induced by the intake of foods and drinks containing cochineal dye have been reported by the Euro-pean Union (EU). In the year 2000, the Codex Committee concluded that cochineal extract in food may initiate or provoke allergic reactions in some individuals.
Cochineal coloring allergy

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