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Food Additive Deep Dive (pun intended) for Carrageenan – Food Dive, 9/22/15

Food scientist and chemist Danielle Robertson takes a deep dive into carrageenan

Some ingredients are like driving through yellow lights – it’s best to avoid them in excess, but no one can prove their safety unequivocally. Driving through a yellow light may or may not result in an injury, but slamming on your breaks to avoid the yellow light can be dangerous too. With yellow lights and food additives, safety depends on a multitude of factors, not all of them known.

As I reviewed the food science behind the items a certain company isremoving from their food, I was struck by the reputation of certain items on the list. Some ingredients should be reconsidered because they were deemed safe so long ago, their science never carefully evaluated. Other ingredients are probably best removed because advanced science came up with better alternatives. And then there are some ingredients that acquired a stigma for no apparent reason. Maybe the name didn’t look familiar or was hard to pronounce. Maybe it was being confused with another additive. Maybe a self-appointed internet watchdog made uninformed claims about its safety. Like rumors in high school, ingredient stigmas make me wonder, how did this claim get started? Is it personal or just a misunderstanding? How did this rumor spread so fast? Is there a grain of truth behind it, and how can the subject of the rumor possibly clarify or dispel the rumor?

 

Read more from the source: Food Dive