I think VRG is an excellent resource for Halal Consumers in North America. I found their FAQ section on ingredients really useful. I am planning to explore their site more and would share as I find useful articles and information.
Background: Any ingredients coming from insects is Not-OK. It came to my attention through a reliable source that Red 40 might be produced from insects (beetles in particular).
Verdict: Red 40 is Not-Guilty (OK to consume)
From my research Red 40 is synthesized from hydro carbons. There is no proof that Red 40 comes from insects.
I have done some research on Red #40 and it seems that it comes from organic stuff like coal or petrochemical and not beetles(or other insects). The colorants that come from insects are cochineal and carmine.
Here are some sources:
Towards the end of this article:
Another red dye used in foods, FD&C Red Dye #40 (alternatively known as Red #40), is often mistakenly assumed to be a euphemism for cochineal or carmine. It’s not — it’s bug-free and is actually derived from coal.
“Some of these colors, derived from coal or petroleum sources, are subject to certification and carry the F,D, or C prefix.”
Please let me know if you find more information/proof about Red #40. I hope this helps us all in avoiding to consume non-halal while not unnecessarily making this hard on ourselves.