Due to safety concerns, carrageenan—a seaweed-based food additive—may be removed from the list of materials allowed in organic products. An advisory committee to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has already recommended that carrageenan be banned in organic foods; the NOSB will vote on the issue today or tomorrow.
So what’s the problem with carrageenan? While it’s widely used in foods due to its effective emulsifying and texture-enhancing properties, the Cornucopia Institute (a public interest group focused on organic and sustainable agriculture) claims the food industry has suppressed research associating carrageen with intestinal inflammation and higher rates of colon cancer in animals. Members of the Cornucopia Institute have testified before the NOSB regarding their views and findings, and the institute has also issued a report on the topic. Proponents of carrageen, on the other hand, claim that not only is it safe, but that it would be difficult to find a viable alternative—a key consideration that the NOSB must take into account as part of its review process.
For more information, you can read the Cornucopia Institute’s full report on their website.
Source: FoodNavigator-USA and the Cornucopia Institute