Food Science Matters Alerts Food Editors to Carefully Review Carrageenan Science, 4/14/16

Work of lone researcher cannot be replicated under Good Laboratory Practices

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The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is currently conducting a review of nonorganic substances that are allowed as ingredients for use in U.S. organic foods. One of those substances under review is carrageenan, often identified as Irish Moss. Food Science Matters is requesting your attention to this matter.

Carrageenan is a derivative of the same red seaweed that has been used as a thickener or stabilizer in foods for centuries.

As part of a prolonged campaign, an organic interest group and a lone research scientist have promoted a combination of suspect science and consumer fear in advance of the NOSB review.

Unfortunately, we’re often more interested in stories about common food ingredients that someone says will harm us, which is what these groups have been trumpeting. These claims have been consistently debunked by legitimate research and have been thoroughly reviewed and rejected by regulatory agencies around the world. The scientific evidence confirming the safety of carrageenan has existed for decades. Moreover, within the past few years and as recently as 2015, new studies and additional reviews and papers have once again proved its safety.

For example, The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, one of the most independent and respected review panels in the world, thoroughly reviewed carrageenan science from both sides and found carrageenan to be of ‘no concern’ even in infant formula.

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