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Q: Carmine/Cochineal Food Color ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Carmine/Cochineal Food Color
Category: Business and Money > Consulting
Asked by: denniss-ga
List Price: $85.00
Posted: 01 Aug 2005 11:12 PDT
Expires: 31 Aug 2005 11:12 PDT
Question ID: 550467
Looking for US market size of cochineal/carmine. In US$/year and also
in volume kg/lbs broken down by grade/concentration
Major suppliers (identified as producers or simply distributors)
Major Applications/Users
Subject: Re: Carmine/Cochineal Food Color
Answered By: czh-ga on 04 Aug 2005 13:32 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello denniss-ga,

I?ve been working on your question for several days off and on. The
search was very educational and incredibly frustrating. It seems that
the Carmine/Cochineal colorings market is very small and is currently
in flux. It?s very difficult to find market information about this
product and even harder to make sense of the statistics found.
Specific market information you're looking for is available in some
very expensive market research report. I've included the links for
these in case you can find access to them on your own.

The main points are that the market for carmine/cochineal collapsed
with the advent of synthetic colors. There has been a recent
resurgence for the product with the coming of the trend toward
?natural? products. Carmine/cochineal has the benefit of being FDA
approved for foods and cosmetics. There have been some problems with
it as a food additive because it causes severe allergic reactions in a
small percentage of users.

I?ve organized the information I found into the categories you cited.
In addition, I?ve also included some more categories to help organize
the background material that didn?t fit exactly into the structure of
your questions but provided excellent background information on the
history and current status of this ancient coloring method.

I hope that the information I?ve found will be useful. Please don?t
hesitate to ask for clarification if anything I?ve posted is

Wishing you well for your project.

~ czh ~

U.S. Trade Quick-Reference Tables: December 2003 Imports


U.S. Imports for Consumption: December 2003 and 2003 Year-to-Date,
not Seasonally Adjusted 
(Customs Value, in Thousands of Dollars) 
(Units of Quantity: Kilograms) 

***** See tables for the most recent information available.

Pigments & Dyes

PRODUCT TYPE: Market Research Report
PUBLISHED BY: Global Industry Analysts
ORDER CODE: R263-1300
Price: $3950

***** This is a very expensive report that has some relevant
information for you. The table of contents and summary might be

World Dyes & Organic Pigments
 PRODUCT TYPE: Market Research Report
PUBLISHED DATE: November 2004
PUBLISHED BY: Freedonia Group
ORDER CODE: R154-1230
Price: $5100

***** This is a very expensive report that has some relevant
information for you. The table of contents and summary might be

Publication Date: 01-APR-99
Format: HTML
Price: $30.00

***** There is also a 2004 edition of this report but it?s shown as ?sold out.?

Market and Technical Survey: Natural Dyes

Industrial dye manufacturers responded to the public backlash against
synthetic dyes by developing a new product line of ?organic dyes?,
which have largely replaced the heavy metal-based inorganic synthetics
while preserving the same color quality with minimal toxic residue.
This development has started to erode natural dyes? domestic market
share in the US and EU. US demand for organic colorants, including
dyes and organic pigments, is forecast to increase by nearly four
percent per annum to more than $3 billion in 2003 (Source: PRG).

As a result of this increase, natural dyes will exhibit decline again
in the textile sector within the next five years as well as suffer
from intense competition and strong downward pricing pressure from
Asian (principally Chinese and Indian) imports. Larger growth is
expected in the natural colorants market for food, drugs and cosmetics
(FD&C) where certain dyes, such as carmine and annatto, are used
regularly. Smaller amounts of natural dyes are also used in coloring
paper, leather, shoe polish, plastics and paints.

Import Markets 
Table 2: US Imports of Natural Dyes Not Elsewhere Specified, 1994-98, Volume (MTs)
The US import market for natural dyes reached 3,291 Metric Tons (MTs)
in 1998, which was a 20 percent increase from 1994 but a 5 percent
decrease from 1997 as natural dyes began to lose their main market
niche to domestically produced organic dyes, as described above.

Table 4: US Imports of Natural Dyes Not Elsewhere Specified, 1994-98,
Value (US$'000)
In terms of value, the US import market reached $41 million in 1998
which was a 70 percent increase from 1994 and an increase of 22
percent from 1997.

Import prices for natural dyes are not reported officially, as
importers guard their prices competitively. Cochineal?s import price
is the only one reported, and historically it has been double that of
other dyes because of the inconsistency of its supply. In January of
this year (see Table 6 below), however, Peruvian cochineal?s import
price had a major decline as Brazil, South Africa and Botswana started
regular exports.

Table 6: Cochineal, Physicals, Peru silver grey,
Amsterdam/Rotterdam/Antwerp cif ($/kg)
This decrease in cochineal?s import price, however, has not
transferred to the retail level, as cochineal?s extract carmine is the
most expensive of the natural colorants, and is the only red colorant
approved by the FDA for food, drugs and cosmetic application. The
following table provides a breakdown of the average retail prices for
natural dyes:

Table 7: Average Natural Dye Retail Prices ($/lb.)

While, on the whole, the natural dye markets look set to stabilize or
decline, many in the industry are still optimistic about the future.
They point out that it took over twenty years for natural foods to
catch on with mainstream consumers, so it will undoubtedly take time
for naturally dyed products as well. Making consumers aware of the
environmental problems caused by all synthetically dyed textiles and
their organic substitutes, and making an alternative widely available,
are the keys to the success of this industry.

***** Although the survey information is several years out of date,
the discussion of the market and the players is worth a look.


Cochineal is produced commercially only in Peru, which produces about
200 tonnes per year [3], and the Canary Islands, which produces only
about 20 tonnes per year[4]. France is believed to be the world?s
largest importer of cochineal, but Japan and Italy are also important
direct importers. A high proportion of these imports are reexported in
processed form, mainly to other developed economies[3]. Recently two
new producers have entered the market, Chile and Mexico [1]. As of
time of writing in 2005, market price of cochineal is between 50 and
80 USD per kilogram[8], while synthetic raw food colour dyes are
available at prices as low as 10-20 USD per kilogram [9].

***** This Wikipedia page is very comprehensive and summarizes most of
the information I?ve found.

Seeing Red

The rich red of carmine is used in a wide range of foods - from meats
to sweets - as well as in cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, and
world demand for this natural colouring is rising fast, by as much as
15% a year. The Canary islands, South Africa, Mexico and Chile are all
exporters of carmine but most of the world's most popular natural red
comes from Peru, where it has been used since ancient times.

However, farmed cochineal contributes only a small proportion of the
850 tonnes of carmine that Peru exports each year. Most of it - as
much as 85% - is still gathered from the wild prickly pear cactus - or
'tuna' as it is known locally - that grows thickly on the
mountainsides in central Peru.

But, for both wild and farmed cochineal producers, these are tough
times. The mid-1990's saw a boom with prices at as much as US$80 but
now the price for premium dried cochineal has fallen to as little as
US $7 a kilo. To survive, the cochineal industry in Peru is not just
hoping for improved value for the raw material, it needs to add value
to the product before it is exported. The big colour-buying companies
based in Europe and North America seem to prefer to buy the raw
material and to reap the rewards for processing it themselves, before
selling the colorant on to the food and other industries which rely on
it. At the BIOCON processing plant in the suburbs of the capital,
Lima, Quality Controller Elizabeth Carmelino shows examples of
powdered carmine. "We used to sell mostly powder," she explains, "but
now we are working to get closer to the end-user by developing a wide
range of highly specialised, ready-to-use liquid dilutions - in every
shade from soft pink to deep crimson."

***** This page provides of the current status of the cochineal market.

COCHINEAL (also known as Carmine Red)
Dactylopius coccus

Supplies are very dependent on the weather.  Poor weather in Peru in
1994/5 caused a shortage of the product which, according to some
traders, was exacerbated by the withholding of shipments by Peruvian
exporters.  The resultant price increase may encourage more use of
synthetic substitutes, at least in the short term.

France is believed to be the world?s largest importer of cochineal,
but Japan and Italy are also important direct importers.  A high
proportion of these imports are reexported in processed form, mainly
to other developed economies.

The value of the product is determined by its carminic acid content. 
The standard cochineal extract contains 60 percent carminic acid,
which has increased in price from about US$100 per kilo in 1993 to
US$300 per kilo in 1995.

***** This is another short report that gives you some of the market
information you?re looking for.

COCHINEAL (also known as Carmine Red)
Dactylopius coccus

Cochineal is a red dye made from the dried bodies of the pregnant
females of the species of insect Dactoylopius coccus which feeds on
the cactus Napalea cochinillifera.  It is only produced commercially
in Peru, which produces about 200 tonnes per year, and the Canary
Islands, which produce only about 30 tonnes per year.

***** This is another short overview of the cochineal market.

Re: CAFTA assures economic stability

The Numbers: 
Imports of cochineal from Guatemala, 2004: 188 tons

Cochineal statistics will stay the same. Guatemala still 
seems to export two or three hundred tons a year (though the United 
Nations' Food and Ag ricultural Organization says only Peru now 
produces the dye commercially), but the dye has no tariff anyway. 

***** This report refers to a small market in cochineal from Guatemala.


Peru accounts for 85% of the worldwide production of cochineal,
reaching 800 tons per year.

Carmine Dye Extraction Process and the Cochineal Insect


Peru is the major supplier of carmine dye, a natural, red colouring
agent derived from the cochineal insect. The dye is used in foods,
drugs, and cosmetics. As a result of global restrictions on artificial
colorants in food and other consumer items (many synthetic red dyes
are now prohibited in the United States), Peru enjoys a considerable
advantage in the world market, supplying 80% of the world's cochineal 
? about 40% as a dye and 60%ininsect form.

Peru's Instituto de Investigacion Tecnologica Industrial y de Normas
Tecnicas (ITINTEC), and the  Simon Fraser University have worked
together to improve the carmine dye extraction process, providing a
23% yield of 62% pure carmine. (Other commercial processes result in
20-23% yields of 52% pure carmine.) A pilot production plant with a
capacity to produce 5 kg of carmine per day has been
constructed.Extracting carmine powder from the insects involves
boiling the insects in water, followed by filtration, precipitation,
and washing and drying the final product.


- Production : 20 tons p.a.
- Quality : Excellent 19-22% of carminic acid content.E-120
- Markets
company is interested in buying COCHINEAL please visit this special

***** This website has not been updated for several years so the
contact information may no longer be valid.

Colores Naturales de Chile S.A.

Established in 1990, Colores Naturales de Chile S.A. has since become
a recognized manufacturer and distributor of Premium Quality Natural
Colorants, specializing in cochineal extracts and high quality carmine
products manufactured on-site for the Food & Beverage, Cosmetic and
Pharmaceutical industries, ready for immediate dispatch worldwide.

Since those early years Colores Naturales de Chile has grown and
managed to differentiate using innovative technologies and state of
the art processing procedures, resulting in a wide expansion of its
product color range, known as Carmine Color Blends, using not only
carmine but many other natural colors. Not only are its stability
properties so advantageous but also recent trends of the markets
tendency towards the use of natural products. Carmine based products
are solvent free, only using water during extraction processes.

Cochineal: A Colorful Commodity

How does a tiny Cochineal insect nested on a cactus high-up in the
Peruvian desert become a worldwide commodity?

Good question. Aurora photographer David McLain answers this rich
question visually in this edition of PhotoVoyage.

***** This is a wonderful photo essay on the cochineal industry in
Peru. It is difficult to find the nuggets of hard information because
of the page layout. I?ve included the specific pages that might be of
special interest to you below:

Montana SA produces valuable carmine dye at its state of the art
production plant in Lima, Peru.  Montana SA is one of the largest
carmine production plants in Lima.

A professor and student at Sunati Technical College work with carmine
at the new carmine production facility in Ayacucho, Peru.

Carmine is a red dye produced from the dried bodies of pregnant
cochineal insects. It is widely used by pharmaceutical, cosmetic,
food, and beverage industries around the world as a coloring agent.

The Peruvian government partially funded Sunati's new production
facility in order to educate a new generation of Peruvians about the
process of making carmine.

Because carmine is approximately five times more expensive than
cochineal, Peru is interested in developing its carmine production

Over 500,000 Prickly Pear cacti dot the desert landscape in Lahoya,
Peru at the world's largest cochineal farm.

Owned by Colca APX, the fields employ 250 workers and produce
approximately 200 kilograms of dried cochineal per week.

Over 500,000 Prickly Pear cacti dot the desert landscape in Lahoya,
Peru at the world's largest cochineal farm.

Owned by Colca APX, the fields employ 250 workers and produce
approximately 200 kilograms of dried cochineal per week.

Inside Colca APX
Workers at Colca APX spread millions of live cochineal insects across
screens in Lahoya, Peru.

The cochineal will dry for 8 days before being shipped to Lima, Peru
for worldwide distribution.

Approximately 200 kilograms of dried insects are produced weekly at
the largest cochineal farm in the world.

Clusters of female cochineal insects infest a Prickly Pear cactus in
the desert outside of Arequipa, Peru.

The insects spend their entire 105 to 120 day lives on the pads of the
cactus on which they were born. They are coated with a waxy white dust
that must be removed before they are processed into carmine.

Approximately 130,000 insects must be gathered to obtain one kilogram
of dry weight cochineal.

Campesinos use homemade brushes and nets to collect wild cochineal in
Allpa Urquna, a small village in the mountains outside of Ayacucho,

Although large-scale cochineal farms are slowly starting to appear in
Peru, the majority of cochineal is gathered by hand in the wild.

In 1996, Peru harvested 640 metric tons of cochineal, which accounted
for roughly 85% of the world?s production. Of this, 500 metric tons
were gathered from cacti growing in the wild.

In Huanta, the current market rate for fresh cochineal is 20 US
dollars per kilogram.

On average, 20 to 30 freelance collectors visit the store of Mary
Elizabeth Ramirez Matta each day, bringing approximately 100 grams of
cochineal with them at a time.

A microscopic view of some of the 250 to 280 eggs contained within a
pregnant female cochineal.

Although all females contain some red dye, pregnant females have the
highest level of carminic acid and produce the highest quality dye.

Cochineal growers and gatherers take special care to harvest only the
pregnant females, which bring the highest price from large-scale


Dishes of carmine display shades of red in Ayacucho, Peru. 

Carmine is widely used as coloring agents in food, beverages,
pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. With recent concerns about the safety
of synthetic dyes, cochineal has enjoyed a comeback as the FDA
considers it a safe and natural product.

Americans have most likely used a product containing cochineal at some
time in their lives such as; maraschino cherries, lipstick, cough
syrup, Jell-O, gummy bears, cheese, grapefruit juice and Kool-Aid.

A Manual of Organic Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy.
by Lucius E. Sayre, B.S. Ph. M., 1917.
606. Coccus.?Cochineal
Cochineal Bug. Red Scale Insect

HABITAT.?Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America
(originally), and Spain and Algiers (introduced); feeds on various
cacti, especially upon Opuntia coccinilifera (more).

COLLECTION.?Only the females (wingless) are used; they are brushed off
from the food-plant, and, if alive, are killed by heat (hot water or
oven). The cochineal insect is cultivated on a large scale, and large
quantities are annually exported from Mexico and Peru. Humboldt
estimated that 800,000 pounds of coccus (each pound representing
70,000 insects) were annually imported into Europe.

CONSTITUENTS.?Cochineal contains principally a red coloring matter
soluble in water, alcohol, or water of ammonia. This coloring matter
is composed of carminic acid, C17H18O10 (?).

***** These are historical descriptions and production figures.


Now it is used as a fabric and cosmetics dye and as a natural food
colouring, as well as for oil paints, pigments and watercolours. When
used as a food additive, the dye must be labelled on packaging labels
[7]. Sometimes Carmine is labelled as E120.

Cochineal is one of the few water-soluble colourants that resist
degradation with time. It is one of the most light and heat stable,
resistant to oxidation of all the natural colourants and is even more
stable than many synthetic food colors [12]. The water soluble form is
used in alcoholic drinks with calcium carmine, the insoluble form,
being used in a wider variety of products. Together with ammonium
carmine they can be found in meat, sausages, processed poultry
products (meat products cannot be coloured in the United States),
surimi, marinades, alcoholic drinks, bakery products and toppings,
biscuits, desserts, icings, pie fillings, jams, preserves, gelatin
desserts, juice beverages, variety of cheddar cheese and dairy
products, sauces and sweets. It gives Campari and other Italian
apéritifs their colour, too[7]. The average a human consumes one to
two drops of carminic acid each year with food [12].

Carmine is one of the very few pigments considered safe enough for use
in eye cosmetics [6]. A significant proportion of insoluble carmine
pigment produced annually is used in the cosmetics industry for hair
and skin care products, lipsticks, face powders, rouges, and blushes
[12]. A bright red dye and the biological stain carmine used in
microbiology is often made from the carmine extract, too [2]. The
pharmaceutical industry uses cochineal to colour pills and ointments

Natural Colorants -- Applications

Amongst some of the most common applications are: 
Beverages, fruit preparations, health food products, yogurts, dairy
beverages, jams and preserves, sugar confectionery, maraschino
cherries, frozen desserts, pharmaceuticals, fruit and vegetable juice
mixes, soups, delicatessen products, flavoring applications, snack
foods, meat products, Soya based products, syrups, sausage casings,
sausages, candies, surimi, cosmetics, Nutraceuticals, etc.

Sensient Technologies Corporation

Carmine ? Overview
In the 1980s, Carmine lake gained importance as a possible replacement
for FD&C Red 3 and as a stable source of natural colors for food, drug
and cosmetic products. It is the only organic pigment presently
permitted for use in the eye area within the U.S. It is one of few
colors that hold up in permanent wave products. Regulations place no
limitations on the amount of Carmine permitted in foods, drugs or
cosmetics. For practical purposes, however, its use is likely to be
economically self-limiting and should be used in accordance with good
manufacturing practice. While, as of this writing, manufacturers have
not achieved universal approval as a suitable color for Kosher
applications, new forms of useful Carmine continue to find their way
to the marketplace.


***** This site gives you detailed information with many links to all
aspects of the cultivation, production and distribution of cochineal.

A Perfect Red : Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire
by Amy Butler Greenfield
Hardcover: 352 pages 
Publisher: HarperCollins (May 1, 2005) 

***** This is a recently published and very highly reviewed book all
about the history of cochineal.

E120 Cochineal, Carminic acid, Carmines

Cochineal is a natural red colour obtained by crushing of the female
Dactilopius coccus, a cactus-dwelling insect indigenous to Central
America. The dye is expensive due to the sheer quantity of shells
required to produce a small amount. Alcoholic drinks may contain the
water soluble form (ammonium carmine), but the insoluble calcium
carmine is found in a many more products. Other commercial uses
include as an antineoplastic agent, as a 0.025% solution in
concentrated H2SO4 for photometric and fluorimetric determination of
B, as an indicator and diagnostic agent (gives colour reactions with
Mg, Ge, Pb, Zr, Th, Mo, U). E120 has been linked to the cause of
allergic reactions.

Typical products include alcoholic beverages, dyed cheeses, puddings,
icings, sweets, sauces, fizzy drinks, cakes, soups and pie fillings.

Other names:		C. I. Natural Red 4
Chemical formula:	C22H20O13
CAS NO.:		1260-17-9
Physical appearance:	bright red powder

Ground up beetles found in yogurt -- carmine serves as insect-based
food coloring ingredient

This is not a joke: there are ground up red beetles being used right
now as a food coloring ingredient in yogurt, ice cream, juice drinks
and many other grocery products. The ingredient is called "carmine."

Carmine is literally made from dried, ground-up red beetles, and its
coloring (bright red) is used in yogurt, juice drinks, candies, and a
long list of other products, including many "natural" products.

Colors Au Naturel
March 1998 -- Application

A word from FDA

The list of colors exempt from certification are listed and described
in 21 CFR 73. The ones approved for food, rather than animal feed,
include: annatto extract; dehydrated beets (beet powder); caramel;
ß-apo-8'-carotenal; ß-carotene; cochineal extract and carmine; toasted
partially defatted cooked cottonseed flour; ferrous gluconate and
ferrous lactate; grape color extract; grape skin extract (enocianina);
fruit juice; vegetable juice; carrot oil; paprika and paprika
oleoresin; riboflavin; saffron; titanium dioxide; and turmeric and
turmeric oleoresin.

Label lessons
Under FDA regulations, any color added to a food product cannot be
considered "natural," no matter what the source, according to Penny
Huck, associate director of technical services, Warner-Jenkinson Co.,
St. Louis. That's unless the colorant is natural to the food product
itself -- strawberry juice that gives strawberry ice-cream a pink hue,
for example. If red beet color is used for strawberry ice cream, it
would not be considered "naturally colored," because beet juice is not
a natural component of strawberries or ice cream.

Carmine/cochineal extract. 
Carminic acid, derived from the shells of dried female insects
(Dactylopius coccus costa) is the main pigment in carmine or
cochineal. Cochineal extract contains approximately 2% to 3% carminic
acid. Depending on the product and the pH, it produces colors in the
orange to purple range. Carmine is the salt of the pigment, which
produces a magenta-red shade. The water-insoluble lake forms of
carmine range from pink to purple, and will have carminic acid
contents of not less than 50%. In order to stabilize carmine at low
pHs, an acid-proof version is manufactured.

Since these colors aren't derived from plants, they may not be
kosher-certified, although kosher versions are available. They also
tend to be expensive compared to FD&C colors, although this may not
hold true when comparing cost-in-use. Some reports indicate that some
individuals might suffer allergic reactions to this colorant, probably
due to the proteins present. However, carminic acid is extremely
heat-stable. When used in a low pH beverage, it "yields a particular
hue -- a bright magenta -- not achievable with certified colors," Huck
says. "The only certified color alternative for this type of
application, FD&C Red No. 40 dye, is more of an orange-red shade."

The Aztecs and colour

Interesting fact
Cochineal red, discovered by the Aztecs, was made using the female
cochineal beetle. A pound of water-soluble extract required about a
million insects and it was the Spaniards who introduced the crimson
colour to Europe in the 1500s.

For the Aztecs, Indian red dye was considered more valuable than gold!

The following article appeared in the August 1999 issue of Cereus
Chatter, the official publication of South Florida Cactus and
Succulent Society.
Beneficial Scale? 

There are many written accounts of the fact that the cochineal insect
was used extensively as a dye by the Aztecs and the Olmecs in Mexico,
the Mayans in Mexico and Guatemala and the Incas in Peru. When
Hernando Cortez and his "conquistadores" entered the great market
place in the Mexican capital, they found bales of finely woven cotton
and of delicate yarns spun from rabbit fur, dyed a bright red color.
This sparked an immediate interest in the Spaniards. Other records
indicate that included in the tribute paid by each conquered state to
the great Aztec Emperor, Montezuma, were many bags each containing
millions of dried cochineal insects. At the time, the insect had a
high monetary value and, in many cases, was used like money. Needless
to say, the Spaniards enslaved the Aztecs for the next few hundred
years to produce the dye, which was shipped back to their mother

Currently, the Canary Islands is a major producer of cochineal
insects--and it all started with eight plants!

In 1821, when Mexico and other Nueva Espana (New Spain) colonies
gained independence, they inherited the cochineal industry.

After 1830, the cultivation of cochineal spread to other provinces in
Spain, to other countries in Europe such as Italy as well as to
countries in other continents: Algeria in Africa and Java in Asia.
Cochineal was once such an important world commodity that it replaced
many of the other natural sources of red for dyeing textiles. As a
result, the Opuntia and cochineal insects were introduced and
naturalized in many of the desert regions of the world. Because
cochineal scale is collected in the wild or cultivated in desert
plantations in otherwise barren areas, it had no effect on food
production and currently, often serves as one of the few cash crops
for the local people.

As we can see, historically, cochineal was widely used as a textile
dye, but during the past 100 years, it has been totally replaced by
synthetic, analine dyes, mainly due to their lower cost and ready
availability. However, there are other uses for cochineal. Most of the
world production of cochineal is used to produce the red dye, carmine,
and a significant proportion of the produced carmine is used in the
food and drink industry. In the food industry, it is used in meat
products (such as sausages and baloney), jams/preserves, preserves,
fruit syrups, fish cakes, dry mixes, gelatin deserts, confectioner's
flour, icings, dairy products (such as yogurts, ice creams and shakes)
and even in candies and bubble gum. In the drink industry, carmine is
used in fruit drinks and in certain alcoholic aperitifs such as sweet
vermouth and Campari. It is also an important ingredient in
pharmaceutical products, such as pill coatings, as well as in hair and
skin care products, lipsticks, face powders, rouges and blushes. It is
even used in pet foods. For those of you who may be wondering, this
colorant cannot be Kosher certified.

Currently, D. coccus, is the only commercially important cochineal.
Peru is the current principal source of cochineal insects followed by
the Canary Islands, Mexico and India.

The red dye is obtained only from the dried bodies of the female of
the insect. The deep red color stems from carminic acid (C22H22O13).
The brilliant carmine is also currently used cosmetics and artists'
colors. For example, most brands of lipstick are tinted with cochineal
extract. And, yes, it is safe--it has also been approved by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration for use both in food and cosmetics.
Depending on the treatment, the dye yields colors ranging from scarlet
and crimson to pink and even orange

It takes about 70,000 insects to make one pound (454 gm) of cochineal.
The body of one coccineal is said to contain between 18-20% of
carminic acid.

There is a relatively large market for cochineal and even an
international clearinghouse for cochineal, housed in the Canary
Islands, called THE COCHINEAL MARKET EXCHANGE. Their Web site is very
interesting and provides the means for buyers and sellers of cochineal
to transact business. For example, they have specific instructions for
buyers and sellers from The Canary Islands, Bolivia, Chile, Peru,
Japan, the United States, Europe and a catchall "Other" category.
While doing the research for this article, I also saw a web page from
Peru selling cochineal internationally on a wholesale basis. There is
even an approved system for measuring the percentage of carminic acid
concentration on the coccineal powder and prices are quoted

Cochineal: A Colorful Commodity

How does a tiny Cochineal insect nested on a cactus high-up in the
Peruvian desert become a worldwide commodity?

Good question. Aurora photographer David McLain answers this rich
question visually in this edition of PhotoVoyage.

***** This is a wonderful photo essay about the production of
Cochineal/Carmine in Peru.

Cochineal insect, Dactylopius coccus Costa (Homoptera: Dactylopiidae),
on prickly pear.

Opuntia ficus-indica infested with Dactylopius coccus Costa
Cañon de Colca, Arequipa, Pérou

The Red Cochineal and Natural Colorings Diffusion Center
Rancho La Nopalera -- Coyotepec, Oaxaca:

The Red Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus Costa) is a small parasite
insect of the cochineal prickly pear tree that produces a natural red
coloring, chemically known as carminic acid.

Lipstick, Cherries and the Cochineal Beetle

It takes a lot of these beetles to produce enough colour ... about
150,000 of them are needed to make 1 kilogram of carmine dye.



cochineal market
Carmine OR Cochineal Food Color
food ingredients colorants cochineal OR carmine
us imports cochineal
image search < Red Cochineal OR Dactylopius coccus Costa >
food ingredients colorants

Request for Answer Clarification by denniss-ga on 16 Aug 2005 09:48 PDT
I can't seem to find it through the links provided, but is there an
import tax for carmine and/or cochineal brought to the USA? Thanks so
much for all your help.

Clarification of Answer by czh-ga on 16 Aug 2005 11:04 PDT
Hello denniss-ga,

I took a quick look to see if I could find this information without an
extensive search but didn't come up with anything. Since this is an
added topic to your original question, I suggest that you post a new
question. A researcher familiar with the field of export/import
matters will probably be able to locate it more efficiently than I

Thank you for the kind words and I wish you well for your project.

~ czh ~
denniss-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Very good overview of the industry and great number of links. A good
start for my project which had to go into much more detail about
users, distributors, prices and consumer trends. Thank you.

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