Monday, February 2, 2009

E120 / Carmine dye

E120 is a red food coloring which is derived from insects. This ingredient can be found in a lot of food. Recently, they've started using E120 in the gelatin-free Skittles produced in the UK, which has caused most Muslims up there to stop consuming them.

E120 is most common term for this substance used in ingredient labels, however they may also list it as carmine (dye) or cochineal.

Here is some information on E120:

"A deep crimson dye is extracted from the female cochineal insects. Cochineal is used to produce scarlet, orange and other red tints. The colouring comes from carminic acid. Cochineal extract's natural carminic-acid content is usually 19–22%.[5] The insects are killed by immersion in hot water (after which they are dried) or by exposure to sunlight, steam, or the heat of an oven. Each method produces a different colour which results in the varied appearance of commercial cochineal. The insects must be dried to about 30 percent of their original body weight before they can be stored without decaying.[10] It takes about 155,000 insects to make one kilogram of cochineal.

There are two principal forms of cochineal dye: cochineal extract is a colouring made from the raw dried and pulverised bodies of insects, and carmine is a more purified colouring made from the cochineal. To prepare carmine, the powdered insect bodies are boiled in ammonia or a sodium carbonate solution, the insoluble matter is removed by filtering, and alum is added to the clear salt solution of carminic acid to precipitate the red aluminium salt. Purity of colour is ensured by the absence of iron. Stannous chloride, citric acid, borax, or gelatin may be added to regulate the formation of the precipitate. For shades of purple, lime is added to the alum."

Now what is the Islamic view on E120?

Well from what can be found from within ahadeeth, locusts are the only permissible 'insect' that can be consumed, and is mentioned exactly by name.

Some scholars therefore deem ALL other insects as haram because they cannot be slaughtered in accordance to shari'ah, due to their small size and because they are 'bloodless' which means even if somehow slaughtered at the throat, the blood will not flow.

Imam Malik, rahiemahullah, has classed all other insects in the same category as locusts, making their form of slaughter by boiling, roasting, or piercing it with a stick/needle until it is dead, while saying the name of Allah over it.

Most people pose this question in regards to snails and their permissibility of consumption and this same information is brought up. However, shuyukh who present Imam Malik raheimahullah's argument also are sure to mention that the Prophet salAllahu alayhi wasallam never ate snail, therefore assuming, perhaps because they cannot be slaghtered and do not fall under the category of locusts. Also, the Imam is the only one to hold this viewpoint.

With that its really up to you to draw your own conclusion on eating foods with E120. And even if you follow Imam Malik's route with this one, it's most definite that they are not slaughtered in accordance to shari'ah (Allah's name being recited over it). On top of that, to me it doesn't really seem that a chemical process is taking place, since some people say that when a strong chemical process takes place the substance is an entirely different thing... all that's being done is that the color is being extracted from the insects. Allah knows best!!

Personally, whether it's halal or haram, the thought of those hundreds of thousands of insects being boiled... steamed... roasted... dunked in ammonia... is soooo disgusting!!!! So I will pass on E120... which would mean passing on red M&Ms as well... which is a easy can do in my book.

Usually I like posting pictures on my entries... but I guess considering the topic I'll pass so no one pukes on their computers and then blame me.

But in case you're interested, this is someones screen-shot of an article from when the FDA finally decided that ingredients labels should include E120 specifically rather than hiding it under "artifical flavors". There is an image of the insect in the article, which can be found here


Saimah said...

wow this was very imformative mashallah, well put together. that is really pretty gross, all those insects??? i know hanafis follow that it is haram, i guess maybe only malakis would use e120. i think its best to avoid it, 1 of 4 scholars okay it..

Sapphire said...

Ewwww that is disgusting. To me its plaid that if he meant all insects he would have said that and that he set locusts aside from the rest for a reason. I can't even look at bugs I don't want to think about how they mass murder them! lmbo Thanks for the info, love the blog!

Naseem said...

"YO IS THIS HALAL OR NOT?" lol i love that

M.J. said...


Anonymous said...

i would like to know if it can still be used as makeup because in that case we r not consuming it.

Sally said...

I wouldn't use it. Why? It still goes into your blood stream by entering pores. Just b/c something isn't injested doesn't mean it shouldn't be used... being clean muslims is inside and out! my 2 cents, salam love the site

Radiant Light said...

Salaam; you state

'Cochineal is used to produce scarlet, orange and other red tints.'

Would that not also leave, the orange and yellow M&Ms in doubt?


Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

I've contacted M&M's company before and got a shady response saying no animal products are used in M&Ms. They seemed kind of confused in their answer which was why I never posted it, so Allah knows best. I will try to email them again.

Anonymous said...

Is it okay to use carmine in eyeshadows and not lipsticks

Anonymous said...


I would like to say that another name this dye goes by is Red Lake #40.

There is also a dye called FD&C Red 40, which was originally made from coal tar, but is not made mostly from petroleum. This is not the same thing as Red Lake #40.

mosindahouse said...

yea but it taste nice so shutup

Anonymous said...

Wow subhanallah almost everything in the us non muslim country has something haram. I am scared cus the things i thought was halal like m&ms turns out to be haram. I was checking out muslim consumer group web site and found out about the bug. And this article has better info thanks. Wa salam alykum.

iqbal kardamay said...

Mashallah everything is so easy to understand by internet. But i'll recomend to everyone to always touch with good scholars. Those you unknowingly eat those things Inshallah Allah (s.w.t) will forgive. But why can't we compromise our heaven foods to this world non value foods. Life is short. Eat sensibily. if haram is haram. What my easy is way of life I've made some good scholar beware there are tons of doggie scholar out there, having beard is not enough see their life too. but think who are really following the sunnah which we are not definitely and then ask assistance to give you make your heart comfy with scholar and direct towards the righteous one. This is the way of Prophet and Inshallah you'll get the guidenence. there is google app there very handy but need to be check with someone who more knowledgable. Take care of Iman your life and your family. May Allah (s.w.t) show the right path and protect us. Ameen

Anonymous said...

Wa Alaikum assalam,

Sadia chicken sausages contain E-120 and are easily available in the middle-east..

We should abstain from all that is haram and doubtful.

Your captcha is quite hard :|..

Anonymous said...

my name is owais and i eat e120 #WOTMATE!

Anonymous said...

Eeewwww that's groce!! Yukkkk!!! I loved mnmz b4 uhhhhh

Anonymous said...

Just an very importent matter, I think The animals are dying after a 3 month life cyklus, and then are brushed off the cactus leave. You get it!

Anonymous said...

Definately Haram , and YES stay away from artificial colors ! Also if you live in a non muslim country , make Hijra ! move out go into a MORE muslim like land.

Anonymous said...

After eating M and M's yesterday (I am a revert so still learning) I was disgusted when someone told me about these being say I felt sick was an understatement. It seems to become more and more hard for us, especially me as a revert, to eat things that I enjoyed in my childhood after finding out things are haram. Insha'Allah we all learn from our mistakes and Allah knows best

Anonymous said...

I had bought a packet of mentos a few days ago and my friend told me they were haraam so I wanted to know what was haraam in the ingredients. After research I had found most webs say it has e120. I didn't know what that was so I researched that too. I had found this greatly explained web that I'm on at the moment (this web) withh all the info. JZK for the info brother

aisyah Chronicles said...

I'm finding it really hard to avoid cosmetics with carmine because most lip products contain this ingredient.. U__U

Anonymous said...

you guys are all focussing on candy, but this same dye is used under the anonymous sounding additive number E120 in lots of processed meats. beware.

Anonymous said...

Salam...I'm not a sheikh or a scholar, but I want to say the following, as it applies to our lives as Muslims in these times.

There is a general principle that things are permissible unless specifically forbidden. This can apply to food, to activities etc.

Additionally, Islam is meant to bring ease to us, not hardship and complexity.

The idea that because the Prophet (pbuh) didn't eat something thus we shouldn't doesn't make any sense. There are 3 situations here to consider.

1. He didn't eat something and expressly indicated it was not permissible to eat.

2. He didn't eat something due to personal preference but didn't expressly indicate it was forbidden to eat.

3. He neither ate something nor expressly forbid it from being eaten.

WRT insects, there is no explicit statement AFAIK that he indicated everything but locusts were forbidden. If there is, please share.

WRT locusts, I'm not aware of a specific preparation that was required, but if there was, can someone please site the hadith.

This debate came after the death of the Prophet (pbuh) with mixed opinions on the permissibility (or not) of eating insects.

What we need today are scholars who can give us CLEAR guidance (with all available options) on questions such as this, not simply site what scholars debated hundreds of years ago or tells us what one specific opinion is.

In the big picture, this is what will help us move forward and be better educated and informed Muslims.

Anonymous said...

im so shocked!! i had no idea that they could do this! i live in a non-muslim country but despite this there r a lot of muslims here. as i dont trust these companies, i check all the ingredients but who am i to know that the chemical compounds r haram; they hide it from us on purpose, especially sincd some of these haram products say suitable 4 veggies on it!!thank u this article has been very useful and i have warned all my muslim frnds about this :)
is it jst me or did u know bounty has pork in it!!????? :O

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Usually it is written as artificial colour and flavour. I recall some products with e120 written on it but never knew what it ment I live in Pakistan and am talking about local products like jam and ketchup. The times are really difficult. The good companies mention the ingredients but mostly local sweet shops, bakeries and icecream shops ( even with food chain type) don't mention any has to avoid all dine outs I think.

Anonymous said...

salaam to all,i've got a paper from the mosque of "la cournerve in france", in the paper the meaning of E120 was intestine and pancreas of pigs.. yo check it out for me..

Anonymous said...

If is not mentioned forbiden than is not forbiden

I do not go with an argument on slaughter, not hot blooded anymals are not sloughtered that way as far as I aware ie fish, so why slould be an insect slotered, they have no blood.

Lots of missinformation around this, E120 is classed as natural colour

I do not think companies hiding things, it is more likely employ people with insufficient knowledge, and the person responsible not able to make good legal ingredients list or in that contry ingredient list is not a legal requirement

Anonymous said...

i think it is disgusting

Anonymous said...

As salaamu alaikum, my suggestion to go with the vegetarian or vegan or kosher(foods and non-food) items Many brands come with that specification will save the pig by products, and insect problems :)

Anonymous said...

So Kosher is Halal?

cc chia said...

E120 red color is made from dried Cochineal beetle blood. Its up to you to decide if its kosher/halal or not, as red food coloring is in most processed food, including canned or frozen green peas (to make the peas look greener instead of a dull grey).

Anonymous said...

Well written article, but the actual argument of scholars was that it is haram if harmful or disgusting (to you). So if you grew up eating insects, there is no harm. Arab food is cultural. Saying killing insects makes you a murderer but you can kill cows, chicken and camels in cold blood doesn't make sense. In 200 years, eating insects will be normal. cheers - Kushuppandi

nicnacnoo said...

Been reading various articles on carmine.. Saying it falls under the "natural flavours" catagory..,
See article below ...If you see the words “Cochineal,” “Cochineal Extract,” “Carmine,” “Crimson Lake,” “Natural Red 4,” “C.I. 75470,” or “E120,” in an ingredients list, this red bug dye is in the food. Also, a food labeled with “natural colorings” may also contain it.

If you’re not concerned about eating bugs, then this dye is certainly preferable to artificial dyes. But, if you’re a vegan, vegetarian, have an allergic reaction to carmine, or a religious reason to not eat bugs, you’ll want to keep an eye out for any of those words in the ingredients of the red-dyed foods you consume.

Read more:

nicnacnoo said...

Meant to say natural colours not flavouring

Yatika Dhingra said...

Online Business Directory

Anonymous said...


Syed Areeb said...

Hey why are you saying "wow SubhanAllaah almost everything in the US non Muslim country has something haram"
U cud say" Almost everything in the food available in USA has something haram... And MashAllaah you are spreading the caution "

Your statement is incorrect as it means to say SubhanAllaah for the fact that the us non muslim country has something haram
It is not the right place to use SubhanAllaah

Anonymous said...

Lush cosmetics is animal by product free

ashe skin care and cosmetics is "herbal" i was told its free of gelatin and im assuming it has no cochneal

Unknown said...

It's funny you say in US or non Muslim countries because most products in wealthy Muslim countries are imported from non-Muslim countries.

RAW Ibn William said...

It's funny you say in US or non Muslim countries because most products in wealthy Muslim countries are imported from non-Muslim countries.

abdalla said...

Dear brothers and sisters,

To answer this question all one has to do is research why we do not slaughter fish and you shall find the answers that you seek:

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, Allaah is not questioned about what He does; Allaah Says (what means): {He is not (to be) questioned about what He does, but they will be questioned.}[Quran 21:23] So, a person should submit himself to what Allaah has legislated, and Allaah does not legislate something except for a wisdom which we might or might not know. Indeed, it is reported in a Saheeh [authentic] Hadeeth that fish is lawful to eat; the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "There are two dead animals that are lawful for us (to eat): they are fish and locust..." [Ahmad and Ibn Maajah]
Nonetheless, it is permissible to seek the reason behind (a given) legislation, and it may be that the wisdom behind not slaughtering the fish is that dead fish is pure as it has no (flowing) blood that remains in it due to its death unlike livestock and other animals that must be slaughtered according to Islamic rites so that they can be lawful to eat as its dead animals are impure because they have blood that remains in it due to its death, so they cannot be pure except through slaughtering it (while being alive) according to Islamic rites.

Ibn Al-Qayyim may Allaah have mercy upon him said: “The dead animals are forbidden because witnesses (fluids), excretions and harmful blood remain in it, hence slaughtering is a reason for making it lawful to eat because it removes these excretions and blood. As regards death itself, it does not lead to prohibition since it takes place by slaughtering in the same way it takes place by other reasons, so if there is no blood and excretions in the animal, which are removed by slaughtering according to Islamic rites, it does not become forbidden by its death and it is not a condition to slaughter it in order to make it lawful to eat, as is the case of locusts. That is why what does not have flowing blood does not become impure by death, like flies, bees and the like, and fish is the same like them, because if it had blood and excretions that remain in it by its death, it would not be lawful when it dies without being slaughtered according to Islamic rites.”

Allaah Knows best.

Naveed Akhtar Butt said...

Fish too have impure parts like stomach which we remove. Also dead fish is not halal. Only the fish which dies when it's out of water, is halal. The fish which is dead inside water is haram.

James Brown said...

Love what you're here guys, keep it up!..

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Amna Shakeel said...

Thanks for the info.. Can you name some lipsticks that commonly use this ingredients. Do you know does Revlon colour burst balm stains contain this? I cannot find this info any where..

رضا رمضان said...

خدماتنا متميزة عن غيرنا في مجال التسريبات سربات المياه والعوزال وحل بطرق سليمة دون التدمير فعندنا في شركة ركن البيت افضل يوجد افضل الفنين الممتزين في مجال التسربات والكشف عنها بدون اي مشاكل من خلال الطاقم التي تم تدريبه في شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام فتعاملك معنا ستحصل علي خدمات متميزة

شركة كشف تسربات المياه بجدة
شركة كشف تسربات بجدة
شركة عزل خزانات بالرياض
شركة عزل اسطح بالرياض

شركة كشف تسربات بالدمام
شركة كشف تسربات بالرياض
شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض
كشف تسربات المياه

Mamzy Rashid said...

Yes. She can say subhanallah.

almostakbl company said...

التخلص من الحشرات فى المطابخ
المطابخ من اكثر الاماكن التى نستخدمها يوميا ونظافة المطابخ تتدل على افراد اصحاء وعائله سليمة فنظافة المطابخ والتخلص من الحشرات من اهم الاشياء التى لابد من القيام بيها وعدم الانتظار الى ان تتكاثر وتنتشر فى المطابخ من اهم انواع الحشرات التى من الممكن ان تتعرض اليها الاتى :-
الصراصير الصغبرة فى المطابخ
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالخرج
مكافحة حشرات بالخرج
من اكثر انواع الحشرات التى يتم التعرض اليها فعليك اولا ان تتعرف على الاسباب التى تؤدى الى التعرض الى الصراصير والقضاء عليها نهائيا من اهم ما تقوم بيه الاهتمام بالتخلص من القمامه اول باول ، الاهتمام بالتخلص من بقايا الاطعمه ،التخلص من الردة ، التخلص من تسربات المياه تحت الاحواض لانها من البيئة الخصبة التى تساعد فى نمو الحشرات وتساعد فى تكاثرها وانتشارها ، الاهتمام بالبيارات ونظافتها وخاصه اذا كانت فى المطابخ هذه هى اهم الاسباب التى تؤدى الى انتشار الصراصير الصغيرة فى المطابخ فاذا كانت هناك اى مشكله واستعصى عليك الامر فتعاون معنا الان .
النمل الاسود فى المطابخ
شركة رش مبيدات بالخرج
شركة رش حشرات بالخرج
رش حشرات بالخرج
النمل الاسود من الحشرات التى تنتشر فى فصل الصيف وتزداد مع ارتفاع الحرارة فاذا كنت تعانى من النمل الاسود فعليك ان تهتم بالتخلص من فتافيت الاطعمه والتخلص من السكريات المتواجده على الطاوله ، الاهتمام بازاله القمامه وبالاضافة الى الاهتمام بالتعرف على الشقوق والاماكن الضيقه التى ينبعث منها النمل الاسود حتى لا يتم انتشار النمل الاسود فى المكان وطرق الوقاية التى تساعد فى القضاء عليها هو القيام بالتخلص من القمامه وفتافيت الطعام والتخلص من الاماكن التى ينبعث منها النمل بالاضافة الى وضع السمسم فى الاماكن التى ياتى منها النمل لانها تعمل على اعاقه الجهاز التنفسى للنمل والتخلص منه ، رش زيت البترول على ارجل الطاوله حتى لا تتعرض الى النمل
مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخرج
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخرج
عليها .
السوس فى التوابل
من الحشرات التى تاتى فى التوابل والارز السوس فعليك ان تهتم باعمال التنظيف بالاضافة الى عدم القيام بالاستعانه بانواع من التوابل القديمه او الارز القديم فهذه من اكثر
الطرق التى تساعد فى الحفاظ على التوابل من السوس .

jfr said...

Lol. SubhanAllah is fine as an exclamation. Would you rather her say 'OMG'?

jfr said...

The article was clear as mud. Your incoherent, yet *seemingly* innocent by nature, one-liners, however, were not.

We do far far, and I mean FAR more damage talking the way you do, rather than say "OK I'll try from here on in" The trick of the Shaytan is to cause doubt (and ignorance to effort) through vagueness

jfr said...

"You wohhtt?" -local geezer, happy to dine with

jfr said...

That is a misconception. Allah places us everywhere, as the Sahaba travelled globally, believe it or not. The Qur'an states 'Ukhrijaat LI-NAAS' - 'Go out *towards* people, mankind'. Without our collaborated efforts and dealings, ironically, we won't be able to spread out so freely

Mona said...

Salam carmine it's not category of animals in the Uk because they are insect and very small. It's same similar law that if you kill a fly it's ok but if you would kill the dog witch is animal you will go to prison. What i know on the ingrediance of M&M it's said E120 or carmine so better avoid it gross food and Allah know best.

Mona said...

Salam i woudnt like to put Bugs on my skin..its so Grosse..

B said...

Assalamu'alaykum sister
"While all Jurists agree that if wine turns to vinegar it is permitted to consume and is now considered pure (Tahir) they still differ about other than wine. Hanafis, some Hanbalis, some Malikis, and the Zahiris all agree that if something impure is changed into something pure so much so that it no longer distinguishable as the original substance (basically a change at a molecular level) then it will be considered pure. Shafi’s and Hanbalis do not agree.

So the conclusion is that Cochineal is OK eat according to the broadest reading of religious texts and the majority of religious scholars, while some would disagree about its permissibility."

full article here👇

على محمد said...

شركة تنظيف بالدمام
شركة تنظيف بالخبر
شركة تنظيف بالجبيل
شركة تنظيف بالاحساء
شركة تنظيف بالقطيف