What is Carrageenan and Is it safe?
The use of various products in your processed food is a common practice these days. These additives help in keeping the food items fresh and edible for long and also help to add flavor color and texture to the food. One such product that is much talked about these days is carrageenan.
What is it?
This is an extract of the red sea weed that bears the botanical name of Eucheuma or kappaphycus. This weed is mainly grown in Philippines and around Indian Ocean as well as in Canada. The one that is used in foods as additives is the food grade extract and is in much demand all over the world. Carrageenan is used for the purposes such as
It is basically a food additive that is approved by the countries from around the world to be added to ice creams, chocolate milk, jellies, cheese, custard and even protein drinks. It actually keeps the particles of cocoa and components of protein shakes suspended in the liquid medium such as milk.
The safety issues
Well, there are many people who are concerned about the safety of this extract. The extract has been used in the USA since 1970s. In Ireland the history of its use has been still older and there this extract has been safely used since 400 AD. The extraction process is simple and harmless. All they do is wash the collected weed, soak it in alkaline medium, wash it and chop it, remove the color and wash it again, dry it completely and then send it for milling. This does not alter the natural properties of extract and therefore carrageenan is safe for human and animal consumption.
This is just a plant based alternative to gelatin and since it is used in trace amounts and does not pass through the lining of your gut it is safe for consumption.