Dr. Myra Weiner talks with Food Ingredients First regarding her recent paper in Food and Chemical Toxicology
Carrageenan is a natural, seaweed-based emulsifier and stabilizer that has been used in processing foods for over 100 years. In the recent past, carrageenan has been a key ingredient in processed foods from sandwich meats to dairy-based foods. Its use is most popular in yoghurts, milk and ice cream. However, scientific studies suggesting that carrageenan is toxic to the immune system and digestive tract, and a potential carcinogen have meant that food manufacturers have reformulated many of their products in order to eliminate the stabilizer and reassure consumers that there are no risks in consuming their products.
FMC Corporation, a leading supplier of carrageenan for food use announced that an analysis appearing in the respected peer-reviewed
journal Food and Chemical Toxicology has found significant weaknesses in some food additive research, using carrageenan as a primary example.
Dr Myra Weiner, toxicologist and author of the peer reviewed paper that supports the opinion that some previous studies that have found the natural seaweed-based stabilizer carrageenan to be a potential carcinogenic or toxic to animals and humans were flawed, spoke to FoodIngredientsFirst about her findings.
The analysis, funded by FMC, was submitted by Dr Weiner, a board certified toxicologist, Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences and president of TOXpertise, LLC, calls particular attention to at least 12 in vitro carrageenan studies using human colon cells, identified as NCM460 cells. Conclusions drawn from these studies are based on the assumption that these cells were typical of normal human colon cells.
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