In The Spotlight: Carrageenan
We are living in the age where consumer is the king. And to please the king, there are countless options and choices available, whether it is food, clothes or cars. When it come to shopping for food, there are two kinds of people. There is one set who are less conscious about buying food, and they shop according to their taste and budget. There is another set who are extremely conscious about what they buy, and they don’t care about other factors so much such as taste and budget. These are the kind of people who don’t compromise on the quality of the product , and they scrutinize every ingredient mentioned on the packaging. One very obvious examples of this set are the mothers who grocery shop for their family. They handpick each and every product and weigh them against each other based on their ingredients and their nutritional value.
We often read the ingredients written at the packaging, and we have often come across this substance called carrageenan. Ever stopped to wonder what this product really is? This product has been in the spotlight for quite some time followed by the debate that is carrageenan safe or not?
The main source of the ingredient carrageenan is red seeweed, and the main use for this ingredient is as food thickener. Carrageenan is used is Ireland since 400 AD, and the most common name by which it is known as is gelatin. Gelatin is used in deserts, ice creams, cakes and jellies to thicken the food and provide the liquid with more stability. Gelatin is a huge hit among the desert industry and no dish of theirs is prepared without gelatin. One of the lesser known uses of gelatin is also to cure common cold and cough.
The food grade carrageenan is being used since hundreds of years, and has been constantly reviewed and evaluated by WHO and FAO. Each time the verdict was positive, and it has been proved again and again that carrageenan is perfectly safe for us to consume. The only kind of carrageenan which is not suitable for human consumption is the degraded form, which is anways not us in food, as it does not provide any thickening properties. This makes degraded one useless for consumption is foods. Carrageenan is often said to be derived from healthy plant bacteria which makes it even more beneficial for us to intake this product.
For every product or new ingredient that comes out in the maret, there is a proper reviewing and testing , and it is made sure that they pass all the standards set by the food department of various nations. No product can be sold in the market without proper licensing and validation. Hence, there shouldn’t be much debate whether to intake carrageenan or not. If there aren’t many advantages of taking the product, there aren’t any disadvantages either. It has been proves time and again the carrageenan is harmless and it only gives a better taste and texture to our food.