Is E120 halal?
Apr 16

E120 is a food additive also known as cochineal or carmine, which is derived from the dried bodies of female cochineal insects.

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My imam says yes

predicts YES

@ThomasPoltoranos Your imam is very wise

predicts YES

If E120 is partially halal, could this market resolve prob (50%)?

bought Ṁ197 of NO

I am not a muslim or an islamic scholar, this is from <10 minutes research and quite uncertain:

From a brief search, there is no specific ruling on this, and like many questions like this there is regional variation and no global consensus or authority. Locusts can be halal as Mohammed reportedly ate some. There are some confusing commentaries concerning whether or not other insects have 'flowing blood' (with many surrounding scientific inaccuracies, eg saying snakes do not have flowing blood) but if they are counted as not having 'flowing blood' (as they seem to be often) then would be haram.

In the absence of a specific ruling another approach seems to be along the lines of 'would a reasonable person in good standing do this in times of abundance, or would they find it unappealing'. This is seen as evidence in favour of other insects being haram. This is of course a cultural preference/reaction but seems to be taken seriously.

Another question often used is 'given that it is not clearly halal, and there is doubt, is it avoidable? In times of famine or desperation, is it the only option?'. In the case of famine it seems that insects would be acceptable, and discussions of this usually concern mealworms or similar. Given that cochineal is an unnecessary food additive, this is commonly and specifically said not to meet that threshold.

Overall the online discussions and commentaries I could find were of poor quality, contradictory, and making basic scientific errors. These were mostly from the main Sunni schools.

Overview of Sunni schools.

Islamic Services of America view.

Global Islamic Academy view.

@WXTJ How about the Shi'a?