Overwhelming data from dietary studies, particularly long-term oral feeding studies, on the consumption of carrageenan for the past 40 years has shown carrageenan is a safe ingredient. There is significant research attesting to the safety of carrageenan in food.
Many have confused carrageenan with poligeenan (or what’s known as “degraded carrageenan”). Poligeenan, made by boiling carrageenan in strong acid, is never used in food.
Regulatory authorities in every region of the world including the United States, Europe, China, Japan and Brazil have found carrageenan safe for use in food. This includes a July 2014 review by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), which “concluded that the use of carrageenan in infant formula and formulae for special medical purposes for infants up to concentrations of 1000 mg/L is not of concern”. The committee based their decision on the results of a new safety study that will be published in early 2015 and the results from numerous dietary studies that replicate the way humans ingest carrageenan to come to its conclusion.
An overwhelming body of evidence supports the conclusion that carrageenan is safe and suitable for use in food. It doesn’t cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and it’s not a carcinogen. Experts from the World Health Organization placed carrageenan in the best possible category for any food additive.