Is Carrageenan Safe?

Uyu Soft Serve Ice Cream Gastown

It’s super easy to get confused when it comes to discovering what’s in your food. I’ve been reading a lot about carrageenan, the latest buzz ingredient in the food science world, and I’ve been asking myself, “Is carrageenan safe for me and my family?” and why Food Science Matters!

Are you sitting there unsure of what carrageenan is? Carrageenan is a common ingredient that is extracted from red seaweed and is typically used as a thickener and emulsifier in ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, soy and almond milks, and other processed foods. You can even make it yourself!


Uyu Soft Serve Ice Cream Gastown

Uyu Soft Serve Ice Cream Gastown

How do you make carrageenan? You boil red seaweed with a little salt, adding a bit of alcohol, and then mixing it in a blender to release the natural carrageenan. The natural carrageenan can then be used in place of gelatin in many dessert recipes.

There are loads of research studies that can be found online about carrageenan, and along with food science facts, I also stumbled upon articles debating whether carrageenan is safe or not. Guess who agrees that carrageenan is safe? Regulatory bodies in Europe, China, Japan, Brazil, and, yes, the United States, have all decided that carrageenan is safe for use in food.

So if all these countries stated that carrageenan is safe in food, where is the controversy?


Early studies that investigated carrageenan safety did not always test adequate amounts of carrageenan, and many studies used the wrong ingredient – that’s right, studies sometimes used poligeenan, which isn’t even used in foods. Many recent articles on carrageenan safety refer back to outdated, bad research!

Current research proves that carrageenan is safe in our food, beauty products, and toothpaste, too! Check out this awesome website on the History of Carrageenan Safety by Food Science Matters to learn even more. It’s important to take the time and carefully review the science of carrageenan.

Uyu Soft Serve Ice Cream Gastown

As a mother and wife, I purchase and make the food my family eats, and it’s super important for me to know what’s in the food I’m serving. It’s important for me to focus on the facts and the food science behind the food we eat. To learn more about carrageenan and other ingredients in our food, head to Food Science Matters, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Are you concerned with the food products you purchase? Have you heard of carrageenan before? How do you try to keep your food safe for your family?

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Food Science Matters, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #foodsciencematters

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7 thoughts on “Is Carrageenan Safe?

  1. Generally I am nervous about food additives whose names I have trouble pronouncing… I wonder if the commercial-produced version has other stuff in it that makers don’t have to talk about or disclose?

  2. I learned so much about carageenan and I knew they were from sea weeds but not all the exact details. Thanks! No more confusion and worry when I see it listed in the food package.

  3. Interesting article! I have read the name before, but didn’t think too much about it. I live in Denmark, and they are super strict on food ingredients, so I tend not to worry so much.

  4. I’ve heard both good and bad things about carrageenan and I thought it wasn’t the ingredient itself that was problematic, but the commercial extraction process. I honestly can’t keep up with food research – one day eggs are bad, the next they’re good. It’s such a delicate topic!

  5. This was such an informative post. Thank you! I have always wondered what carrageenan was as it is mentioned in so many ingredient lists. I had no idea that it is from sea weeds. Thanks for sharing such a great post!