Nowadays, there simply are a lot of things which are added to food for different reasons. These reasons could range from the basic ones, which is to make the over-all color of the food product to look more marketable and pleasing to the eye, promoting shelf life, and to improve its taste and consistency. Carrageenan is one of the most common additives created for the latter purpose.
Carrageenan dangers are something that’s not to be afraid of, as it could be found elsewhere and it has not affected a large group of people in an adverse manner. This is a substance which is found in a lot of products we use on a daily basis. Coming from seaweeds, this substance is effective at giving certain materials a gel-like, and thicker consistency. It is usually added either as a gel or in the form of a powder. The following are common household items where carrageenan is typically listed as an additive:
Toothpaste and Cosmetics
Processed Dairy Food and Dairy Substitutes
Apart from cosmetic use, carrageenan is also present in processed dairy food and substitutes, specifically cheese, milk substitutes like almond milk and soy milk, infant formulas, yogurt of all sorts, and of course, ice cream. Carrageenan is added to these substances because they help retain the rich and thick consistency of the milk or cream even at low temperatures. They make the consistency of other dairy products more desirable, and also helps to emulsify them should emulsification be deemed necessary.
There’s a lot that goes into processed meats, and carrageenan makes up the long list of additives to them. It has been discovered that carrageenan is capable of making substances gel and hold water. When combined and used in conjunction with salts for emulsification, they help give a more well-defined structure to meat, such as spam. They also help increase the product volume while allowing them to sell it at a price which is still affordable for many.