Out of all the substances used in the manufacturing and production of food, the most questionable would be carrageenan. But if you look at the history of our ancestors with carrageenan, you’ll know that we have been using it since 400 A.D. But why has it been considered to cause health damage after all this time? Well that’s something that you need to look at before you think about your own conclusion. There are those that are really conscious about carrageenan and would avoid it all together and there are those that are not all that convinced with the results.Carrageenan is an additive that manufacturers can extract from red seaweed and we use them on certain food for their abilities; carrageenan has stabilizing, gelling and thickening properties. No, they don’t add any flavor to the food but they help in terms of consistency and texture. Tons of research and experimentation has been done as well as opinions of doctors from all over the world were taken into account just to get to a solid conclusion as to whether or not carrageenan is safe. As of now, negative results and findings are being debunked by other research and vice versa, so it’s up to you to choose where you stand.
Health Research Controversy
Every aspect of carrageenan has gone under numerous dietary studies under defined regulatory conditions on its way to global regulatory status. As we said, it has been under the scrutinizing opinions of articles, research and independent food safety agencies. Some strongly indicate that carrageenan is safe and passes through rat GI tracts without causing unwanted effects, although other research has disputed the positive claims.
Recent reviews given by an individual panel, specifically the Joint Expert Committee of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations alongside the World Health Organization on Food Additives of JECFA stated that carrageenan in infant formula should not cause any concern at concentrations of a thousand milligrams per liter. In 2015, the regulation in the U.S has given permission to use carrageenan in organic as well non-organic food namely chocolate milk, organic infant formula and juices. But on November 18, 2016, it was voted to be removed from the list of approved substances concerning any kind of food labeled ‘organic’.
A handful of animal studies have determined that carrageenan can promote or initiate tumors. But an industry-funded study by Cohen & Ito state that in the mentioned studies, there are no solid evidence as to such claim. Some oral feeding studies have shown that laboratory animals with carrageenan filled diets excrete quantitatively and the substance does not accumulate in any organ in the body like the colon and liver.
Even long-term oral feeding has caused no adverse effects on either male or female infant baboons when they were fed with infant formula that contained carrageenan; the carrageenan used in the experiments was even five times more than those that are found in regular infant formulas sold in the market.