Skip to main content

Cochineal red A

A representation of Cochineal red A

Cochineal red A is a red, water-soluble, synthetic azo dye that is used as a food coloring (E 124). It is a surrogate for real cochineal and is structurally similar to amaranth (E 123). But what exactly is cochineal red A and how does it affect the health of dogs? In this article you will learn more about this dye and its advantages and disadvantages.

What is cochineal red A?

Cochineal red A is produced in a multi-stage chemical process known as azo coupling. This produces a typical azo group consisting of two nitrogen atoms. As a rule, cochineal red A is the sodium salt of this compound, but other parts are also permitted.

Cochineal red A is a bright scarlet-red dye that is resistant to acid and heat. It is highly soluble in water and alcohol, but poorly soluble in vegetable oils. It is stable against fruit acids.

Where is cochineal red A used?

Cochineal red A is used in various foods to give them a red color. It is only approved for certain foods and may only be added up to a certain maximum amount. The limits are between 50 and 500 mg per kilogram of food.

Foods that may contain cochineal red A include, for example

Cochineal red A is prohibited for organic products. Instead, they are colored with aronia juice concentrate, for example.

How does cochineal red A affect the health of dogs?

The health effects of cochineal red A on dogs have not been clearly established. There are indications that cochineal red A can trigger pseudoallergies, especially in people or animals that are sensitive to acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or benzoic acid. Pseudoallergies are allergy-like reactions that are not mediated by an immune response.

The possible symptoms of a pseudoallergy include

It is also suspected that cochineal red A could be involved in triggering ADHD, neurodermatitis and bronchial asthma. However, there is no clear scientific evidence for this.

Cochineal red A is a synthetic colorant that is used in some foods. It has a structural similarity to amaranth and can trigger pseudo-allergies. The health risks of cochineal red A for dogs have not been clearly researched.

Learn even more about Cochineal red A

If you notice any signs of hypersensitivity or poisoning in your dog, you should see your vet immediately. We are not a substitute for a vet, but we try to be as accurate as possible. Every dog reacts differently and we recommend you get a second opinion or consult your vet if in doubt.

Stay healthy and take good care of your four-legged friend!😊

Similar to Cochineal red A


Tartrazine is a yellow to orange dye that is added to foods, cosmetics and medicines to give them an appealing color. It is obtained synthetically from coal tar, a black and smoky substance that is...

Allura red AC

Allura red is a synthetic dye made from petroleum. It belongs to the azo dyes, which form a large group of dyes that contain an azo bridge (-N=N-). Allura red has the molecular formula C18H14N2O8S2...


Azorubin has no nutritional benefit for dogs. It only serves to improve the appearance of the products and make them more attractive to the consumer. Some dogs like the red color more than others...