Cochineal Extracts

24th April 2017

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

Question: Could you please clarify if cochineal is permitted as it colours food such as yogurts pink or red and certain lipsticks.

الجواب حامداً و مصلياً

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful



Cochineal is a bug extract found in a variety of foods such as yogurts, ice-creams, most dairy based drinks, candy, chewing gums, jams. It is also found in many beauty products as well like lipsticks, nail polishes and eye-shadows. Presumably, it is the cochineal insect that gives the red (or pink) colouring. These bugs are collected from cactus plants, either dead or alive, crushed into powder and then added as a colouring agent in the aforementioned products. They are identified on the ingredient label with various names such as cochineal extract, carmine, crimson lake, natural red 4, C.I. 75470, E120, or even ‘natural colouring’.[1] It is the cochineal blood which gives it its red colouring. From the Shar’ee perspective, cochineal insect is treated as impure (najis) like all other insects [with the exception of locust which a Hadeeth permits too consume] which the Shari’ah prohibits its usage altogether. So, anything that contains cochineal bugs extract is unlawful to consume or apply externally due to its impurity.[2]


[Allãh Knows Best]



Written by (Mufti) Abdul Waheed

Answer Attested by Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islam

JKN Fatawa Department



[2] Fatawa Hindiyyah Kitāb al-Dhaba’ih, Bāb p. 289 vol 5

[الْبَاب الثَّانِي فِي بَيَان مَا يُؤْكَلُ مِنْ الْحَيَوَانِ وَمَا لَا يُؤْكَلُ]

أَمَّا الَّذِي يَعِيشُ فِي الْبَرِّ فَأَنْوَاعٌ ثَلَاثَةٌ: مَا لَيْسَ لَهُ دَمٌ أَصْلًا وَمَا لَيْسَ لَهُ دَمٌ سَائِلٌ وَمَا لَهُ دَمٌ سَائِلٌ، فَمَا لَا دَمَ لَهُ مِثْلُ الْجَرَادِ وَالزُّنْبُورِ وَالذُّبَابِ وَالْعَنْكَبُوتِ وَالْخُنْفُسَاءِ وَالْعَقْرَبِ وَالْبَبْغَاءِ وَنَحْوِهَا لَا يَحِلُّ أَكْلُهُ إلَّا الْجَرَادُ خَاصَّةً، وَكَذَلِكَ مَا لَيْسَ لَهُ دَمٌ سَائِلٌ مِثْلُ الْحَيَّةِ وَالْوَزَغِ وَسَامٍّ أَبْرَصَ وَجَمِيعِ الْحَشَرَاتِ

The Qur’anic verse, “he permits for them the pure things and forbids them from the impure (khaba’ith)” (7:157) further supports the impermissibility of consuming bugs and insects due to their impurity. This will by default include cochineal insects as well.