Carmine also called Crimson Lake, Cochineal, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, or E120, is a pigment of a bright red color obtained from the carminic acid produced by some scale insects, such as the cochineal and the Polish cochineal, and is used as a general term for a particularly deep red color of the same name. Carmine is used in the manufacture of artificial flowers, paints, crimson ink, rouge, and other cosmetics, and is routinely added to food products such as yogurt and certain brands of juice, most notably those of the ruby-red variety.
Carmine may be prepared from cochineal, by boiling dried insects in water to extract the carminic acid and then treating the clear solution with alum, cream of tartar, stannous chloride, or potassium hydrogen oxalate; the coloring and animal matters present in the liquid are thus precipitated.
In the United States, carmine is approved as dye for foodstuffs. In January 2009, FDA passed a new regulation requiring carmine and cochineal to be listed by name on the label. This regulation is effective January 5, 2011.