If you are from the European Union you may not be familiar with the term “carrageenan” but you surely have stumbled across the E407 food additive or Processed Eucheoma Seeweed (PES). But reading the food labels can prove a quite complicated process, especially if you are not aware of the dangers some ingredients lead to. On the other hand, too much information in the food additives and preservatives department (the E department) can lead to misconceptions regarding the effects of certain food additives and their role in everyday food products. Considering that some food additives have been labeled as dangerous or carcinogenic, it comes as no surprise that less and less people trust the foods they are buying from regular supermarkets and tend to rather choose products which are labeled as “organic” or “natural”.
However, few people know that numerous organic and natural food products also contain preservatives and food additives, most of them of vegan and vegetable origin. Carrageenan is one of these food additives that have been highly used in the food industry for centuries.
Where can you find it?
Carrageenan is mainly found in dairy products and meat-based processed products, but the list of foods that include carrageenan as an ingredient is far more extensive. You can stumble across this food thickening agent in ice creams, yogurts, beers, sugars and syrups, pastas, baby formula and even in personal lubricants.
Possible health benefits
This ingredient is FDA certified thus it has not been labeled as dangerous or potentially dangerous to the human body. Moreover, although further researches need to be conducted, some studies show that carrageenan extracts can, in fact, be benefic to the human body. Some researches link the use of carrageenan supplements to healing or diminishing the symptoms of coughs, tuberculosis, bronchitis, digestive problems, ulcers and even helping promote weight loss.