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FDA Urged to Improve Labeling of or Ban Carmine Food Coloring Insect-derived Coloring Causes Severe Allergic Reactions Food colorings that cause severe allergic reactions should be disclosed clearly on labels or possibly banned, a national health-advocacy group is telling the Food and Drug Administration. The colorings come in two forms, cochineal extract or carmine. Both are derived from female cochineal beetles, which are raised in Peru, the Canary Islands, and elsewhere. They provide a pink, red, or purple color to foods ranging from ice cream and yogurt to fruit drinks and the aperitif Campari, as well as to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. In the past several years, doctors in Michigan, Switzerland, and France have proven that the colorings can cause allergic reactions, including sneezing, asthma, and anaphylactic shock. The prevalence of allergic reactions is not known. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, today petitioned the FDA to either revoke approval of the colorings or require that they be clearly labeled by name. Currently, they may be declared on labels as "artificial color" or "color added."