Although genuine cochineal may still be available, however due to its high cost of production, it is rarely used. This coloring is extracted from the female cochineal insect and to produce just 500g of this red coloring, it requires more than 70,000 insects. But then, true cochineal does provide a strong color that is hard to match by those artificial coloring. Anthocyanins which is derived from vegetables, fruit and berries is another group of red food colorings. However, this coloring tends to have a bluish tinge.
Usually azorubine which is a synthetic dye is used as artificial cochineal too. And people who suffer from eczema and ashma will find it to be sensitive and may cause wheezing or rashes. However, this dyes are still listed as safe because they are safe for most people, and it is believed that the benefits for the majority outweigh the risks for the few. In foods, there is no absolute guarantee of safety. Some people are allergic to particular additives, just as some people are allergic to shellfish or berries.
So if you suffer from eczema and ashma, be extra careful on the type of foods that are with strong red coloring.
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