Carrageenan is Considered as Safe Food Additive

Feb 16

Carrageenan is an ingredient that is derived from various different species of red seaweed known as Irish moss or Carrageen moss in England and in Ireland it is known as Carraigin. In Ireland, the Carraigin was used since 400 AD in the form of gelatinand also as a home remedy for a cough and cold. It has been used for centuries as a thickening agent in foods. In 1940, carrageenanwas made commercially available for the first time in chocolate milk and junket (a kind of milk dessert). In the middle of the 1960’s doctors commonly recommended carrageenan to patients with peptic ulcer to reduce pain, as the patient would require the concentration of a gel kind which is extremely viscous and also unpleasant to consume and this was made possible with carrageenan.

Carrageenan: Safe Food Additive

The research conducted by the Dr.Tobacman was reviewed by the expert committee on food additives jointly by FAO and WHO panel formed an independent panel of international experts and toxicologists to review the data and to develop the recommendations whichwere pertaining to the food ingredients.


Carrageenan has two different forms: food grade and degraded. The use of food grade is considered as safe and is used for centuries. Whereas degraded form is harmful to use and is not use in food, as it is not a thickening agent. Thus, it should be clear that the food grade carrageenan and the degraded carrageenan are two different entities.

The review team evaluated the result of the food grade carrageenan on the basis of the studies conducted on the laboratory animals and recommended that the food grade carrageenan was a safe food additive and has no limits for use in food products. The expert committee assigned the acceptable daily limit of the food grade carrageenan as not specified which is the most favorable category for any food product.

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