Carrageenan remains a safe and suitable food ingredient as proven by scientific and regulatory authorities around the world. Related to this, Consumer Reports came out recently with an article entitled “6 Food Additives to Watch” saying that exposure to carrageenan causes inflammation. The article cited Joanne Tobacman who is a longtime critic of carrageenan. In her published research, she quoted that food-grade carrageenan causes inflammation as it is foreign to the human body. Other research efforts were made but failed to generate the same results, which led to additional research to clarify the mix-up between food-grade carrageenan, degraded carrageenan, and poligeenan. The last of which is not for use in food.
The Founder of IMR International, Dennis Seisun, mentioned that the article cites only one scientist, and the work of which has been refuted by many other scientists, including several at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, the FDA approves very few food additives for baby food and carrageenan is one of them. IMR developed an extensive list of studies conducted on carrageenan. Furthermore, IMR developed an Employment Factor concept whereby carrageenan is shown to provide sustenance and livelihood to hundreds of thousands of seaweed farmers in impoverished regions worldwide.
Moreover, Marinalg International, a global association supporting the interests of the seaweed-derived hydrocolloids industry, wrote a letter to Consumer Reports requesting them to do a more thorough and balanced review of the science and safety around food additives like carrageenan. Carrageenan remains safe and allowed for use in food.