Food Science Matters Alerts Food Editors to Cornucopia Report Touting Flawed Science, 4/26/16

Food Science Matters Issues Response to Cornucopia Institute

Image: PR Newswire 

The Cornucopia Institute, a trade organization representing small organic farming operations, has issued a ‘report’ critical of the stabilizing ingredient carrageenan, derived from red seaweed. This is the organization’s latest lobbying effort employed during the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) hearings on the suitability of nonorganic substances allowed as ingredients in U.S. organic foods.

The Cornucopia report is fraught with bias against industry and regulatory authorities and fails to recognize credible science, or to even

 distinguish between carrageenan and an entirely different chemical compound.

All red seaweed has varying molecular weights. In Cornucopia’s specific report, it claims that a 10-year-old review of testing to determine molecular weights of food-grade carrageenan identified the chemical poligeenan as present in as much as 25 percent of the samples.

Cornucopia has confused poligeenan with carrageenan. Poligeenan is created at very high temperatures and extreme acidic conditions and is not used or present in food. The testing referred to by Cornucopia was done to identify low molecular weight carrageenan as a percentage of food-grade carrageenan.

There was one abnormal test that showed levels as high as 25 percent. However, all the others showed levels between 0 percent and 4 percent. None of the low molecular material, including material from the one abnormal test, was poligeenan.

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