Carrageenan safety confirmed: In latest news, scientists conclude that carrageenan in almond milk and baby formula is completely safe for human consumption. For infants and adults suffering from digestive ailments or migraines, small amounts of carrageenan are “not of concern.”
According to the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), health scares about carrageenan are completely unfounded.
Reports on Carrageenan Safety
Carrageenan is a natural thickening agent derived from seaweed. It is often found in natural herbs, vitamins, and dairy products. Throughout history, people have used natural carrageenan as an ingredient in puddings and condiments.
On June 30, 2015, Food Safety News published research findings that refuted toxicological allegations linked with minuscule amounts of the food additive, concluding that “the use of carrageenan in infant formula, or formula for special medical purposes, at concentrations up to 1,000 milligrams per liter is ‘not of concern.’”
Recently, various news groups reported gastrointestinal illnesses and migraine headaches linked with carrageenan. This is false information. In actuality, poligeenan, a degraded form of carrageenan, is the cause of stomach lesions and related ailments.
According to the JECFA, food-grade carrageenan is harmless and not absorbed by the digestive system. However, the denatured form, poligeenan, is known to cause inflammatory reactions in the intestinal tract.
The JECFA has also debunked previous studies suggesting that carrageenan may cause cancer. Flaws cited in earlier publications include the use of poligeenan instead of carrageenan, non-dietary testing of carrageenan, and errors in methodology.
Food Science Matters advisory council member Dr. Roger A. Clemens went on the record to vouch for the safety of carrageenan as a food ingredient.
“It is unfortunate that research conducted under Good Laboratory Practices that appears in peer-reviewed journals is often discarded by consumer information sources in favor of substandard work that makes unwarranted claims about human health hazards. Thorough reviews by independent organizations like JECFA should aid us in evaluating relevant food additive science.”
In conclusion, there is no reliable scientific evidence proving that natural carrageenan has any harmful effects on the body, as it is not absorbed by the stomach and is excreted by the body. It is safe to consume in almond milk, chocolate milk, migraine vitamins, and all other food items.