INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMME ON CHEMICAL SAFETY
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
TOXICOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF SOME
FOOD COLOURS, ENZYMES, FLAVOUR
ENHANCERS, THICKENING AGENTS, AND
CERTAIN FOOD ADDITIVES
WHO FOOD ADDITIVES SERIES 6
The evaluations contained in this publication were prepared by the
Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives which met in Rome,
4-13 June 19741
World Health Organization Geneva 1975
1 Eighteenth Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on
Food Additives, Wld Hlth Org. techn. Rep. Ser., 1974, No. 557.
FAO Nutrition Meetings Report Series, 1974, No. 54.
COCHINEAL AND CARMINIC ACID
No information available.
No information available.
Mice (number not stated) were given intraperitoneal injections of
a 1 to 2% aqueous solution of the lithium salt of carminic acid for a
period of 60 days. The only abnormality observed was proliferation of
spleen tissue (Harada, 1931).
Groups of 40 rats, equally divided by sex, received ammoniacal
cochineal carmine in 0.4% aqueous gum tragacanth by intubation at
dosage levels of 0, 2.5, 5.0 and 10.0 mg/kg five days per week for 13
weeks. Body weight was recorded bi-weekly. Blood counts were made
three times. Gross and microscopic findings were not remarkable aside
from a dose-related accumulation of colour in the tissues of the rats
receiving the two higher dosage levels. No haematological effects were
noted. At the two highest levels some decreased growth was apparent
Groups of 50 weanling rats equally divided by sex were fed
carmine in the diet at levels of 0, 50, 250 and 500 mg/kg/day for 90
days. Blood counts, blood glucose, blood urea nitrogen and urinalyses
were performed three times. No effects due to the carmine were
reported in terms of growth, haematology and other clinical findings.
Gross and microscopic pathology was not remarkable (FDRL, 1962).
Five rabbits were given intravenous injections every five to
seven days, of 3 to 10 ml of a 2 to 4% aqueous solution of the lithium
salt of carminic acid. The treatment was continued for periods
varying from 130 to 529 days. No tumours were observed, but great
proliferation of the tissue of the spleen was noted (Harada, 1931).
There is no information available on metabolism or on the effects
of long-term feeding. Reproduction and embryotoxicity including
teratology studies have not been done.
Not possible on the data available.
Battelle Memorial Institute (1962) Unpublished report submitted to WHO
Food and Drug Research Laboratories (1962) Unpublished report
submitted to WHO
Harada, M. (1931) cited by Hartwell, J. L: Survey of compounds which
have been tested for carcinogenic activity. Second edition,
1951, p. 118