Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour
Question: Assalamu alaikum,
Is it permissible to consume food that contains carmine (e120) in the Malaki madhab? Carmine is a crimson pigment derived from the pulverized bodies of cochineal insects. It is used for coloring.
Answer: Eating insects according to the Maliki school is permissible but that is with a condition. The condition is that the insects were killed with an intention of making them fit for consumptions (dhakat), much like the slaughtering of a sheep or cow. [Khalil, Al-Mukhtasar]
The production of Carmine, by collecting the Cochineal insects and soaking them in hot water, does not seem to fit the conditions of making them fit for consumption. The collecting process is to produce a dye that is used in the food and non-food industries. It does not seem that they are intending only making the insects fit for consumption.
Based on my understanding of the current production methods, it would not be permissible to consume foods with the Carmine according to the Maliki madhab.
And Allah knows best.