Carrageenan is a food grade stabilizer or thickener that is often found in any food products. If you encounter foods that have a rich and foamy texture, it is likely that such food contains the carrageenan.
Carrageenan and Its Safety
So, how safe is carrageenan, anyway? Well, it is pretty safe, considered that it has been used in the food industry for more than 50 years and there has never been anything wrong with it. When it was first used in the food industry, the FDA has made a research and examination and they found out that it is surely harmless. When there was a rumor about carrageenan not being safe for humans and it could cause cancers and other ailments, another investigation and research had been done and it was proven that the rumor was wrong.
There was a claim saying that carrageenan is dangerous for long period of usage. When you consume any food containing carrageenan, you can develop a greater risk of suffering from the digestive issue and even cancer. Such rumor was supported by the scientific evidence – or so it said. Later on, it was found out that the subject of the scientific research was actually a poligeenan – not a carrageenan.
A poligeenan and the carrageenan come from the same source of red algae. However, they both get the different treatment. In making the carrageenan, the red algae have to go through a safe procedure of manufacturing, resulting in the carrageenan. In making the poligeenan, on the other hand, the procedure involves a type of acid bath that makes the poligeenan dangerous.
So, is carrageenan dangerous? No, it is not. Is carrageenan safe? Yes, it is pretty safe for a regular consumption. Is poligeenan dangerous? Yes, it is. In fact, it is pretty much harmful. It is a type of degraded carrageenan that isn’t used in the food industry for whatever reason.