This is a kind of food ingredient that has multiple uses like;
- Helps in the suspension of chocolate inside chocolate milk hence the prevention of separation.
- It keeps hold of moisture in most cooked meats.
- Can act as an alternative to gelatin in the preparation of desserts.
- It aids meals to stay desirable and delicious for a longer period thus preventing food wastage.
Carrageenan is obtained from the natural growing seaweed. Seaweed is usually praised for their general health benefits but rarely do people realize that it also contains Carrageenan. It is obtained from red seaweeds where it undergoes a low heat boiling inside a non-acidic broth. It is then totally filtered and milled into a super fine powder for packaging.
From the information available online, television shows and research, it is difficult to determine if it is safe or not. It is, however, significant to point out that none of these sources are reliable. From proven scientific research, it has been found that food-grade carrageenan has zero negative effects on human health.
It was realized that the confusion regarding this ingredient was due to poligeenan previously being known as carrageenan. The one used as an additive is undegraded carrageenan which is just extracted from the red seaweed and not passed through any processing. Poligeenan is the degraded carrageenan and is not safe to consume.
Poligeenan cannot get mixed up with carrageenan due to the difference in making the two. Poligeenan is initially washed in more than one hundred and ninety-four degrees fahrenheit for about six hours and in a strongly acidic bath. Carrageenan requires natural extraction thus the facility to make the two is completely different. Human being acidity is substantial to create poligeenan but the internal temperature cannot get anywhere near one hundred and ninety-four degrees fahrenheit.
Individuals worldwide are bombarded by the hectic concerns of making money and travelling for fun or business engagements. Most of this movements demand that we eat in a food outlet that we aren't sure of the ingredients used in food preparations. Most people are sensitive to the nature and safety of additives used in their foodstuff. One of this food additives is carrageenan. Carrageenan is an ingredient that adds flavor to foods making it more delicious. Carrageenan has the following attributes that make it stand the test of times;
Food scientists have proved carrageenan to be a safe food additive. A rigorous manufacturing process has been carried out to ensure that carrageenan has the desired characteristics of a safe food additive.
- Confusion with degraded carrageenan
Degraded carrageenan was a term used for a substance used in medical imaging. The name brought a lot of confusion to the plain carrageenan which is a safe food ingredient. This lead to degraded carrageenan being referred to as Poligeenan to remove the confusion.
- Preparation method
Carrageenan is prepared in a tender process bearing in mind the sensitive nature of the active ingredients. Food scientists with long experience in food industry ensure sanitary in preparation, and highest standards are adhered to in the whole process.
- Acquired from natural Source
Many food additives in the markets are chemical based. Seaweeds are the raw materials for preparing carrageenan, a natural source free from chemicals. Freedom from chemicals is a significant advantage in a food industry composed of many chemical based food flavors.
- False belief that carrageenan can be converted to poligeenan in the stomach
Carrageenan cannot be converted to poligeenan in the stomach. Poligeenan is unsafe in humans. Poligeenan preparation requires a temperature of 194 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is very high compared to stomach temperature of 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Besides, poligeenan requires a pH of 1 which is more acidic than the stomach pH of 2.5.
What is Carrageenan?
Carrageenan is an essential food ingredient known for its various uses and benefits when it comes to wellness and health. The ingredient also known as Irish moss is extracted from a common natural source called the red seaweed. In the past, it was used as a cure for tummy upsets, colds and coughs.
Uses of Carrageenan
Carrageenan can be used to prevent the separation of chocolate milk as it suspends the chocolate in the solution. Carrageenan reduces the wastage of food by retaining its desirable nature and for a long time. In some cooked meat types, Carrageenan is used to retain the moisture of the meat thus improving its moisture. In setting deserts, the food ingredient is used in place of gelatin as a vegan.
Since 2013, several organisations have led various against carrageenan such as the Stonyfield Organic which threatened to end its use in the globally. WhiteWave Foods is other organisations against the product. In 2014, they announced to exclude the ingredient from Silk nondairy as well as from the Horizon Milk according to the demands of their customers. The campaigns have spread all over the media and health food websites with claims that carrageenan has problems to human health that includes; resistance to insulin, chronic inflammation, ulcerative colitis and the inflammatory bowel disease.
The safety of carrageenan
With the widespread health concerns about carrageenan, it is important to note that, the sources are not reliable. Carrageenan is a safe food additive in the food industry. Its safety has been confirmed by several dietary studies and researches including regional regulatory authorities such as Europe, Brazil, and the United States among others. For the last 40 years carrageenan consumption it has been proved to have no harmful effects to human health as an ingredient.