What is Carrageenan?
Carrageenan is an organic food additive, extracted from the red sea weed, and is widely used in meat and dairy products to improve and preserve texture. It is mainly a food thickening ingredient with a lot of other medical fringe benefits. Carrageenan is safe and suitable for consumption. It is subdivided into two categories: Food grade and Degraded (poligeenan). Poligeenan is often confused with food grade carrageenan. However, poligeenan has no food additive properties; the materials are very different, along with their manufacturing processes as well. Carrageenan involves very little processing as compared to that of poligeenan. Poligeenan during the processing is broken down, which loosens its molecular bonds, thus has no thickening properties.
Carrageenan: Harmful or Not?
For centuries people have used carrageenan to add a smooth texture to the food producers. No limit in consumption of carrageenan has been set by the food authorities. No chemicals are added for carrageenan harvesting. Apart from the two basic types, carrageenan can be classified into: Iota, kappa, and lambda carrageenan. One of the most unique properties of carrageenan is its ability to interact with proteins and is used extensively thicken gel or dairy based solutions. Frozen food industry, meat industry, bakery are the core customers of carrageenan.
A healthier way to enjoy quality food
Carrageenan has faced a lot of controversies regarding its safety; however the FAO/WHO has concluded the safety of carrageenan, and has also passed their consent on using of the ingredient in infant food products. The WHO has set a limit of 10o0mg/L for usage on infant food products. Some researchers posited that food grade coming in contact with bodily fluids can turn into poligeenan, which can be harmful, however, the temperature needed for that change to occur, is not probable. Poligeenan creation requires twice the temperature, and more powerful acid, than is possible in the human body. Hence, carrageenan can be considered as a safe consumption. So, fret not and, enjoy more texture of the food with carrageenan. Click here for more information.