Eating Foods With Dye Made From Insects in the Maliki School

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.

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3 responses to “Eating Foods With Dye Made From Insects in the Maliki School”

  1. as salaamu alaikum, thank you for posting this. i have a question for you.
    being that “food grade quality refers to the minimum standard for substances to qualify as fit for human consumption or permitted to come in contact with food, and these guidelines are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS),” are you saying that non food grade dyes are used in food, or that these standards do not ‘intend making things fit for consumption’ for fiqh purposes?

    jazakAllah khair

    1. wa alaykum salam,

      Sorry but we are not ability to answer your questions and any others questions. Our role is to publish only the fatawa.

      If you need more clarifications about this issue, please contact Shaykh Rami through Seekers Guidance.

      Barak Allahu fik !

      Maliki Fiqh QA

  2. ok, i didn’t realize that. thank you for letting me know.
    jazakAllah khair
    wa salaam