E120 E120
Group E120-E129
Type Natural
Source A natural colour that comes from the body and eggs of an insect. It is more commonly known as "cochineal".
Used in Cheeses, beverages, breakfast cereals, jams, jellies, marmalades, processed meats, fabric dye, insect repellent, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
Description Cochineal can trigger an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals although Cochineal allergy is rare. Cochineal is not banned anywhere, although its consumption is prohibited by certain religions. The European Food Safety Authority is due to investigate the safety of E120 by the end of 2015. Safe consumption levels have already been recommended by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization. Peru is the biggest exporter of this food colour, but cochineal is also produced in Spain, Africa and Australia.