FDA alerts tattoo artists about fatally infected inks

Bacteria in inks includes staph, bacilllus cereus, kocuria kristinae

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Some pretty nasty and health-threatening shit was found by Food & Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors at two businesses that produced tattoo inks.  Tattoo artists are being warned not to use black and red inks from Dynamic Color, Inc. and Color Art, Inc. (dba Solid Ink) because they’re contaminated with food and animal bacteria.  The official term is “microbial contamination.”

Skin infections from contaminated tattoo inks can be serious, according to the FDA.

The contamination violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to market an adulterated cosmetic in interstate commerce [21 U.S.C. 331(a)].  One of the ways a cosmetic becomes adulterated is if “it contains a poisonous or deleterious substance that may render the product injurious to users under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling thereof, or under such conditions of use as are customary or usual” [21 U.S.C. 361(a)]. Such a “poisonous or deleterious substance” may include microbial contamination.”

Do not use black tattoo ink supplied in bottles like this one.

The three contaminated “lots” of inks manufactured by the two companies are identified specifically by the FDA as follows:

  • Dynamic Color Inc. recalls Dynamic Color BLK (Black) tattoo ink – Lot #12026090; EXP 09/06/2021; 803 bottles/8 oz. each. Recall Number: F-1236-2019. Product may be contaminated with bacillus cereus.
  • Dynamic Color Inc. recalls Dynamic Color BLK (Black) tattoo ink – Lot #12024090; EXP 09/04/2021; 803 bottles/8 oz. each. Recall Number: F-1237-2019. Product may be contaminated with bacillus cereus, staphylococcus equorum, and kocuria kristinae.
  • Color Art, Inc. DBA Solid Ink recalls Solid Ink Brand DIABLO (Red) color in a 2 oz. bottle; Lot number 10.19.18, EXP 10.2022. CI# 21160-56110-12467. 60 bottles/2 oz. each. Recall Number: F-1223-2019. Product may have microbial contamination.

The three bacteria identified are sourced to Swiss cheese, horses, fried rice left out too long and mammal skin.  Bacillus cereus could be fatal. 

Red tattoo ink supplied in bottles that look like this has been contaminated with staph and two other food and animal contaminants.

Customers are advised to ask tattoo artists to identify the inks they’re using.  Tattoo artists are being advised not to use the contaminated inks.

Customers who have become infected or injured after being inked should visit their physician and let the artist know.   The FDA is also encouraging customers to report injuries and infections to MedWatch: FDA’s Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program

Eric Jonathan Brewer
Author, Investigative Journalist, Speaker, Politician, Consultant

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